Page 1507 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

I hope the Premier of New South Wales has heard of Professor Clark’s quote.

One of the main priorities of the Canberra social plan is for a strong, safe and cohesive community and working to help community network building at a grassroots level. It is about creating a community that is inclusive and supportive, a community where we know one another, where we can support and rely on one another through tough times, and where we can celebrate with one another in the joyful times. The government has an important role to pay in community building, developing links and partnerships in our community. I am proud to be part of a government that has these goals. I am proud to be part of a government that has the vision to set these goals out in the social plan and be actively working towards them.

Mr Speaker, I have a passionate belief in the power of people when they get together. When people work together with determination and commitment, things get done. I moved to Canberra in 1977. At that time, I lived in the very new and growing area of Tuggeranong with three children. Initially, I spent a lot of time at home. I was lonely and frustrated as I did not know how to get out and meet people and develop relationships, having moved from the Northern Territory, where I worked in a very small, very close-knit indigenous community that had welcomed my family on arrival. The contrasts between the experience there and my experience when newly arrived in Canberra at that time were marked.

At the Top End we were so far away from anywhere and anyone that we had to rely on each other. We all knew each other’s name and each other’s business. I do not necessarily advocate that lack of privacy for individuals, but I believe that it would be beneficial if at least we knew our neighbours’ names. I found Canberra to be a very different place, at that time at least, until I took the first step of reaching out to others, not waiting for others to reach out to me. Fortunately, quite soon after my arrival, I noticed an ad in the paper about a public meeting to set up a community service. Since I did not know anyone, I thought I would go along and meet people. From that public meeting, a steering committee of about six or seven people, including me, was formed to establish Tuggeranong Community Service, now known as Communities@Work.

The steering committee worked tirelessly and voluntarily to establish Tuggeranong Community Service. My colleagues and I built community links from the ground up to form the now Communities@Work, a multimillion dollar community organisation that provides a range of services across the southern areas of Canberra. Not only did I get the opportunity to work on important projects to establish one of Canberra’s larger community organisations but also I had the opportunity to develop relationships with members of my own community that would last until today and see many of those people in key roles in our city.

Mr Speaker, you and I, along with other members for Ginninderra, are patrons of the West Belconnen Community Health Committee, another fantastic example of what happens when the community gets together and nurtures community partnerships. For those of you who may not be aware, in 2004 a steering committee was formed to establish a community health centre in West Belconnen. Local residents came together and developed a plan for a community health centre. This plan has been well and truly finalised, with the support and assistance of the Charnwood primary school, the Canberra

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .