Page 5133 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 17 November 2009

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I have been working extremely hard. I have been lobbying government since the standing committee tabled their report into the school closures inquiry. I have been ensuring that this issue around the sites of Tharwa, Flynn and Hall is very much at the forefront of ministers’ thinking around where we might go in the future. I will continue to work very hard.

In the meantime, we do need to wait. There are proper processes that need to be followed. One is that the government is given three months to respond to the recommendations in the report that has been tabled by the standing committee. We expect, and look forward to seeing, that report in December.

In the meantime, I am not sitting around carrying on with bluff and bluster. I am working hard—I am actively engaged—to ensure that those communities do get a hearing and that we can be looking at positive ways to move forward on those closed schools and the former school sites. I will continue to do that.

The ACT Greens are extremely committed to neighbourhoods and communities. There are a range of issues out there, and we are very actively engaged at all levels. I will continue that engagement with the Hall progress association, with the good folk down at Tharwa and with the John Flynn Community Group. And, as I said, I will work hard to ensure that we can get a good outcome for all people involved.

St Thomas the Apostle school fete


Richardson Festival of Belonging

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.53): I want to mention a couple of things. Firstly, I too attended the St Thomas the Apostle fete. It was a wonderful day—a good day, a successful day, by the crowd that I saw there. Being a student of the Catholic education system myself, I understand the contribution that the non-government schools make to our broader community.

The thing I did really enjoy on Saturday was the Richardson Festival of Belonging, which was a festival in my local area. It aimed to promote positive mental health and wellbeing through participation within the community. It is a pity that Mr Doszpot and Mr Seselja were too busy elsewhere to attend the Richardson Festival of Belonging.

The Festival of Belonging was around engaging with community and engaging people within the community. It is well recognised that people who are disconnected from their community are at increased risk of suffering from poor mental health and social isolation, and this can lead to depression. Having a well developed sense of belonging is essential to people’s mental health. That was the thrust of this community Festival of Belonging.

The festival was a joint effort between the Mental Health Foundation, Communities@Work, Tuggeranong Link, Richardson primary school and Richardson

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