Page 2917 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 24 June 2009

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Secondly, I want to make mention of an awards ceremony for the on track program, which happened in the Assembly. The on track program commenced in 2005 and is aimed at providing opportunities for targeted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in years 5 and 6 to participate in activities to enhance their self-esteem. It is pleasing to see the work that schools are doing in relation to Indigenous education and the interest that students are expressing in learning about the rich cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia.

Before I came to this place I had the great privilege to live and work in Alice Springs for a number years, and from that experience I have benefited enormously and can say that Aboriginal culture now, through music, arts and friendships, is part of my and my family’s lives, so that trip to Alice Springs has been, indeed, life changing.

The students who graduated today from the on track program are role models for their peers and other students, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, in their schools. The program demonstrates how ACT public schools are supporting the learning opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, so I commend the ACT public school system, the Indigenous section within our education system, and the 13 students that received their graduation certificates today.

Australian Hotels Association annual awards

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.16): Last Wednesday night, I, like many other members, had the pleasure of attending the annual Australian Hotels Association ACT branch 2009 hospitality awards night. In partnership with, the awards were a showcase of excellence in the ACT hospitality industry.

The evening’s top award went to Socrates, or Soc, Kochinos, who was the ACT member of the year for 2009. The people’s choice award for best bar or nightclub went to a venture of Mr Kochinos’s, the newly opened Sub-Urban in Dickson. Mr Kochinos has been involved in the Canberra hospitality industry for more than two decades and has been praised for his success throughout those years. This year, the John Press award, the award named after the AHA ACT’s first president, was won by King O’Malley’s owner, Peter Barclay. As well as running King O’Malley’s, Mr Barclay contributes to a number of charities.

I would also like to congratulate the award winners in my electorate, Ellacure Restaurant and the Belconnen Premier Inn.

I congratulate many other recipients of awards on that night and I recognise the team at the AHA ACT branch for the successful night of awards. Congratulations in particular go to the General Manager, Steven Fanner, for a successful event. I also acknowledge the leadership of the organisation, including Michael Capezio, the President; Manuel Notaras, the Vice-President; Mark Sproat, the Secretary and Treasurer; and Peter Barclay and Josh Gray.

The continuing growth and success of the awards reflect Canberra’s growth and development as a city and our growing night-life. Even the Age newspaper last week,

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