Page 5333 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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by-products for a quarter of a million years. We do not need to go down this route and we do not need to go down the route of selling uranium to India.

I remember in the past when entering Canberra that there was a sign about the ACT being nuclear free. Unfortunately, maybe it is time that we have to revise these campaigns. The ACT is nuclear free. The rest of the world should be too, and selling uranium to India could only be a step in the wrong direction.

YMCA—70th anniversary

DR BOURKE: (Ginninderra) (5.34): I start by saying happy 70th birthday to the YMCA of Canberra. The Y’s success in supporting our community over such a long period of time is an astonishing achievement. The speed of change during that time has been immense and the make-up of our city has altered dramatically. But the services offered today are just as important as they were 70 years ago.

On Friday, 28 October I was able to attend the birthday celebration for the Y, as well as launch the book that details all of their activities for the last 70 years, The Y Generation. I have looked through the book, and it really is fascinating reading. It was a remarkable effort by all those involved in putting this book together. I am glad that the ACT government was able to help through a $10,000 grant from ACT Heritage.

The book covers the start of the YMCA in Canberra in 1940, telling the story of when young men, construction workers, came to the city to make their money from the building boom. There are even a couple of tales from the 1950s about the YMCA ski club in Smiggin Holes and the efforts some people went to in order to get there.

As I mentioned, in the early days there was a focus on providing services to the men coming to Canberra, such as accommodation, recreation and sport. There was boxing, fencing and wrestling at the drill hall, youth activities at Corroborree Park and dances at the city Y. Then there were the programs for children at Camp Sturt that continued until 2003 and the bushfires.

Times have changed and so have the services. Today perhaps the Y’s most important work is in the provision of early childhood education and care and outside-school-hours care and holiday programs. The early childhood programs include playschool, paint and play, rhyming connections and birthday parties. The Y still does a lot to provide for the recreational and health needs of Canberrans through its range of clubs and programs. Five thousand Canberra families are connected to the Y. Over 9,000 visitors are provided with accommodation each year. Along with the sailing and running clubs, there is a new health and fitness centre in Chifley.

The four key operational values of the YMCA—honesty, respect, caring and responsibility—are timeless, and this is why the work done by the Y today in Canberra is as relevant now as it was 70 years ago. I congratulate the Y, its staff, members and volunteers for 70 years of outstanding service to the ACT community.

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