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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 15 October 2009) . . Page.. 4638 ..

Mr John Hargreaves

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (6.09): I rise to make a few comments on my colleague John Hargreaves. I have known John for a number of years. I shared the last election with him and so did a good many folk of Brindabella, who afforded John the second-highest vote of any candidate in last year’s election. I know from the feedback that I have had from the local community that they are pleased that he will remain in the Assembly.

John is a man of great passion and great compassion. He, rightly, should be proud of his achievements over the last five years as a minister in the ACT Labor government. I have just reflected again on John’s statements over the last little while about some of those achievements and I would like to put them on record here in the Assembly and share them with everyone.

John has said that one of his proudest achievements included the creation of the community fire units and community policing. So they are aspects of our life that we live with and experience every day and it affords us a safe and well community.

He also oversaw many initiatives as minister for disability. He gave voice to Canberrans with a disability. He drove to break down barriers and to improve social inclusion in the sector and funding for individual support packages. He recently launched the companion card and he revitalised the Disability Advisory Council.

As minister for housing, he changed the housing need eligibility from a time-based system that really does not function for people in need to a needs-based system, to allow our most vulnerable to have access to emergency housing and wrap-around support services. He reduced waiting times to below 90 days, reformed the operations of the community housing sector and introduced a transitional housing program for refugees and those fleeing domestic violence.

John also was an active supporter of initiatives that gave encouragement to housing tenants, such as the Joint Champions and Tenant of the Month. I have had the pleasure of representing John at a number of Housing Tenant of the Month ceremonies, and that is a joy, because it is around people in the community that have made our housing resources their home. They are part of the fabric of our community, and Tenant of the Month should be recognised.

The portfolio of Multicultural Affairs was indeed a very passionate portfolio for John. He worked to make Canberra’s model of multiculturalism one of the most successful in the country. Indeed, it is now internationally acclaimed. John has the passion and the drive to defend the rights of every Canberran, to share their culture, faiths and traditions.

As we have heard today, one of his greatest personal satisfactions is the banning of consumer fireworks. We did have a bit of interest at question time in fireworks. John is pleased to have that achievement. He can go home and smile, I think.

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