Page 3940 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 29 October 2013

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Reclaim the night is held on the last Friday of October and is run by the ACT Women’s Services Network. Each year reclaim the night in Canberra has a theme. Past themes have included women with disabilities, healing through storytelling and celebrating history. The theme for 2013 was child sexual assault. The true crime rates for child sexual assault are almost impossible to determine. However, we do know it affects at least one in five girls and more than one in 10 boys.

On average it takes 12 years for women to disclose for the first time that they were sexually assaulted. Men usually take 30 years. These are astounding figures and it is events like reclaim the night that can help make people feel safe and not keep inside of them something that will so strongly impact on the rest of their life. It is the goal of reclaim the night to change community attitudes towards sexual assault through education, prevention and working to improve systems.

I encourage everyone to get involved in these events and, most importantly, to be part of the change in public attitude. Show support for the people in your life who may have faced sexual assault situations. Be a supportive figure that those in your life can come to and feel safe to share their stories with you, without fear or judgement.


DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (4.33): I had the pleasure of opening Canberra’s first-ever bioblitz at the CSIRO Discovery Centre on Saturday. Bioblitz is a fun outdoor event where scientists and community members work together on a concentrated survey of plants and animals. Our centenary year has been a great opportunity to learn more about our history, our environment, our landscape and what we have created here in the bush capital. But the centenary bioblitz also gives us an opportunity to learn more about the plants and animals that live here in Canberra, and especially on Black Mountain, and to learn more about our bush heritage. Through bioblitz, we also want to make sure that they are still here in 100 years to come.

It is fantastic that the Canberra community could be part of bioblitz. They got to work alongside some of the best scientists in the world, whom we are lucky to have here in Canberra, working at institutions such as the CSIRO, the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, to better understand our natural environment. I would also like to acknowledge the brilliant, dedicated efforts of the Molonglo Catchment Group in bringing the bioblitz together.

The Molonglo Catchment Group are one of Canberra’s three catchment groups that help our community to learn more about our natural environment, and they get their hands dirty in the field working on practical environmental projects. I also thank the ACT’s Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and organisations such as Inspiring Australia and the Atlas of Living Australia within CSIRO Canberra for their blitzing work on bioblitz.

I learnt more about the Atlas of Living Australia. It is our contribution to the international open data Global Biodiversity Information Facility funded by governments. Their vision is a world in which biodiversity information is freely and universally available for science, society and a sustainable future.

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