Page 4220 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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The discussion on the future of the city did not really happen. Did we have a good, hard look at ourselves? Did we get a unified view as to what our shared future might be? Did we actually see where we wanted to be 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 years from now? The government under towards 2020 did some consultation about where we might go, but I do not see any of that informing what happened in the program for the centenary year.

The greatest sadness for the centenary program is the failure of the federal Labor government to engage and participate. We had that wonderful speech from former Prime Minister Gillard on Canberra Day where she said that Canberra will always be the home of the Australian public service, but she skipped the line in her speech about, “That’s why I’m cutting 14,000 jobs out of Canberra, out of the public service.” She must have forgotten that little bit. We know why federal Labor was not interested in the centenary—they had other plans for the ACT in its centenary year.

Well done to the government—the $20 million was probably a reasonable number. It would have been appropriate for at least that or double that to be matched from the commonwealth Labor government at the time, but, of course, that opportunity is now gone. I hope the Chief Minister takes up the challenge when she stands up and tells us what she sees as the consistent message that people will take forward when the centenary year finishes.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (4.10): I thank Ms Porter for putting this MPI on the notice paper and for providing us with a summary of this year, which has shown just how extensive the centenary program has been. I think all members in this place have been involved in various events, and I am sure we have all had our favourite events that we have been to.

In my view, some of the most successful elements of the centenary are the lesser known ones, the projects supported by the community initiatives fund which was established to provide small amounts of money to different organisations to run their own event linked to the centenary. I have been to a number of those, as have many of my colleagues. I think they have really shown up the social fabric of the city and how that has developed over the last 100 years. Many of those organisations have been around for a long time. Some are just new organisations but all of them are loved by their various constituencies.

Another very successful, small program—I think under $100,000 in the overall budget—was parties at the shops. I would certainly like to see those continue and be more prevalent right across Canberra. I went to a number of different ones earlier, in March and April. I know there have been some in the second half of this year. Manuka have just had theirs and Hackett had their party at the shops recently. I think Watson had theirs only in the last fortnight. They have certainly showcased what we all love about our local communities, using Canberra’s unique design of the suburban shopping centre to be the centre point and the meeting point for local communities. These events have been well supported by volunteers and shopkeepers, and many of those shops have contributed to the events held at parties at the shops.

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