Page 3694 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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In arts, we continue to deliver on an ambitious infrastructure agenda in transforming the arts landscape and facilitating new partnerships and opportunities for our arts organisations. The past year has been an exciting and productive period. In August I officially opened the $3 million transformation of the Street Theatre. The upgrades included a rehearsal venue, new seating, a new box office and cafe. Similarly, the completed upgrade of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre has transformed that centre into a much more vibrant and user-friendly space. (Time expired.)

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (12.05): As the newest member of this government, I am pleased to be part of a team that is delivering on its promises and paving the path, sometimes literally, for a brighter future for Canberra. It is important to reflect on these 12 months to see what we have achieved and to consider how we can improve our work in representing Canberrans and delivering good and active government to this territory.

When I ran for the seat of Ginninderra, I was motivated to bring a consultative, inclusive and empowering model of representation to this Assembly. I believe that is what I have done and that is what I will continue to do. Reaching out to residents, community groups, sporting organisations, churches and businesses has opened my eyes and my mind to the tangible benefits that an active government brings to our city.

It has been a fascinating insight to learn about the values and beliefs that are held by the people you represent. You learn the most amazing things from people and you also learn what they expect from government. That is why I had no hesitation yesterday in supporting the passing of Australia’s first marriage equality laws. I know that this reform brings together the values, aspirations and beliefs of our community. It might not be the reflection of some of those opposite but that might be one of the reasons why we sit on the government benches and they do not.

It is the small things that this government has delivered that also have a positive impact on our community. For instance, I had an enormous amount of feedback from residents of west Belconnen when I informed them of this government’s move to lower the age of eligibility for the seniors gold card. Lowering the age of eligibility from 75 to 70 has improved the cost of living for thousands of elderly Canberrans across the ACT, including approximately 2,000 residents in west Belconnen.

Another worthy achievement of the past 12 months in west Belconnen has been the upgrades to Umbagong Park in Latham and the consultation with the community over the stepping stones there. I raise this particular achievement because I think it highlights the fact that many of us, whilst constantly engaged in our communities, do not always get to hear the views of all residents, and we cannot always guess when residents will turn out in force on a particular issue. I think Minister Rattenbury would agree that no-one could have predicted the passion with which the future of the stepping stones in Latham would be debated by residents, but I am glad that they remain for all of us to enjoy.

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