Page 4214 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Doszpot): Madam Speaker has received letters from Ms Berry, Dr Bourke, Mr Coe, Mr Gentleman, Mr Hanson, Mrs Jones, Ms Lawder, Ms Porter, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Madam Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Porter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of Canberra’s Centenary year as we move into our second century.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.47): I welcome the opportunity to speak today on this matter of public importance. This year our city has celebrated 100 years since Lady Denman stood upon the foundation stone and named the new capital of Australia “Canberra”. What an amazing city has been created during the passage of 100 years! Centenary of Canberra celebrations in 2013 have not only been a time of reflection by the community but also a year of looking forward to ask ourselves what kind of city we want in the next 100 years.

The incredible program the centenary of Canberra team put together has given us a wonderful opportunity to showcase the many things that make living in and visiting Canberra so special. The “Like Canberra” campaign began in 2012, before the centenary year kicked off, so before the actual year. Canberrans, of course, already knew what they loved about this incredible city, and the centenary year gave them a fantastic opportunity to affirm that. Some 14,000 nominations were received; the website recorded 134,597 votes; and the top 100 reasons to like Canberra were announced on 15 March after more than 11,000 people cast a final vote. “Like Canberra” set the scene for a year that would be strongly focused on all we love about our community. The centenary has profiled this 21st century city as a human city—a lively, active city with a friendly and energetic community; an ideal place for people to live, work and raise their families; and, of course, a great place to visit.

Canberrans have embraced the centenary celebrations and attended them in droves. The “one very big day” 100th birthday celebration on 11 March, for example, was attended by 150,000 people.

As well as seeing people attending events, the centenary of Canberra has brought out one of the very best aspects of our community, the willingness of Canberrans to give their time volunteering. The centenary of Canberra recruited and managed an extensive volunteer program through 2013 and had nearly 400 volunteers registered. Many of those volunteered for several events. To date there have been 1,461 volunteer shifts at 72 centenary events, for a total of 6,465 hours. Centenary volunteers have undertaken a wide variety of tasks—for example, packing show bags for conferences, handing out thunder sticks at centenary sports matches, timekeeping and marshalling at the special olympics at the AIS, and traffic marshalling at Spin events, just to mention a few. I met a number of them during the year, and I appreciated the way these volunteers especially helped out the visitors to the city.

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