Page 371 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 12 February 2013

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MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. It is fantastic, obviously, after seven years of planning, to be here in 2013 and celebrating a very significant milestone for our city. 2013 will be remembered as a true celebration of why Canberra was built and what we have achieved so far, and I think garnering excitement for our city’s future.

I think we are seeing a true sense of pride growing in our city. Some of that has to be down to how the centenary team has united business, community, creative artists, the private sector and the public sector into pulling together and promoting the city in the centenary year.

We will manage a celebration which acknowledges the very important role we have as a home to all of us who live here and have a true sense of love for our city and also the role we play in our nation’s history. In the six short weeks that we have had so far—and I have attended a number of the centenary events—I think that we are well on the road to achieving what we set out to achieve when the centenary was first being considered by former chief ministers all those years ago.

There have been several very significant events already. The bushfire memorial, which commemorated the 10-year bushfire anniversary on 18 January, was probably the first significant centenary event. I think for members—and there were a number of members present at that anniversary—it was an important event not only for bushfire-affected people and their families but also for the broader community.

The celebration of citizens who have turned 100—indeed I think the oldest Canberran is 105—getting their centenary medallions was another very lovely event and an important part of the centenary celebrations.

Also, the arboretum opened on 1 February, and it was a really magnificent event. A number of members attended that. Unfortunately no-one from the Canberra Liberals was out of bed at 5 o’clock in the morning, it appeared, on that day. Actually no; I lie. Gary Humphries did come in. He did not know he was heading for the departure lounge by that date, did he? So he was still attending events, thinking he was going to represent the city as a senator. I know that his opponent was not out of bed at 5 am. I think it was disappointing that we did not have any members of the opposition there. I think the arboretum will grow to become one of the city’s most significant national attractions. There have been years of planning.

There was a fantastic feeling at that event. People could see not only how magnificent that place already is and the vision that was shown by Jon Stanhope in fighting for community support for that vision, but also the visitors centre showed how truly magnificent that place will become year after year. There was a real sense of pride. Children from all the different government and non-government schools across Canberra, student leaders, attended that. They will be the future custodians of the arboretum and they were proud of what they saw in their city.

I think it is time that the Canberra Liberals supported the arboretum. There was not any whisky up there; there was not any wine up there. It was a bit early for that. It was

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