Page 86 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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How do we keep the grinch out of our city? The minister said:

The Government is not establishing any new regulations.

No problem, no complaints and no new regulations. Thank God, once again the government has fought off the Christmas grinch.

Another issue that I address relates to the turning of the sod on Saturday for the Tamil seniors aged persons housing units. Minister Hargreaves, as the minister for housing, attended the ceremony and turned the sod, ably assisted by Annette Ellis, the federal member for Canberra, and me.

I congratulate Thamo Tharalingam, president of the Tamil Senior Citizens Aged Persons Housing Cooperative. That group of people identified a need in their community—the need for appropriate housing for older members of their community that is culturally sensitive to their needs, which is very important. As some people age, they are faced with the onset of debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. They often forget things that happened recently in their lives but they remember very clearly where they were born, where they grew up and the first things they learned. So it is appropriate that we have culturally sensitive housing in the ACT. Tamil senior citizens have gone out of their way to ensure that that occurs.

The beauty and the simplicity of the morning was that there was a blessing of the event by a Hindu priest, which was warmly received by the community. Currently at Corpus Christi parish in Gowrie a priest is on secondment from a parish in southern India. He is learning in Australia. Father Baker came along with the Hindu priest and gave a joint blessing. The three local members, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Ellis and I, then joined in the turning of the sod. The priest and Father Baker did a fantastic job at wielding a mattock. Obviously they are no strangers to hard work. Then refreshments were had.

As a community, congratulations go to the Tamil senior citizens aged care units body on what they have done. It is fantastic that the government made the land available to them. We look forward to growing numbers of culturally sensitive aged retirement facilities in the ACT.

Government achievements

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.50): After returning from our parliamentary break, I became aware that the Christmas-new year period is a time for us all to be thankful for our lot in life and to realise how fortunate we are. It is a time to reflect on the past year and to consider how best to build on the efforts of 2005. The year 2005 was a great year for the Stanhope government and for me personally. We have seen the ongoing transformation of areas devastated by the 2003 bushfires, with the rebuilding of suburban homes and the reconstruction of our national resources. It has been a pleasure to walk through Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and to picnic at the Cotter.

However, there is a lot more to be done. Under the Stanhope government, the road to recovery is in safe hands. Under the Stanhope government, ACTION Buses saw the milestone of 21,000 adult boardings in a single day. The government committed further

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