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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 February 2015) . . Page.. 368 ..

Direct international flights out of Canberra Airport would also provide an export opportunity for fresh produce to find its way into South-East Asia in a timely manner. That would open up, again, further opportunities for the local region and for local producers. I thank Minister Rattenbury for bringing this matter before the Assembly this morning and certainly commend further work in this area.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality) (11.12): I wanted to speak briefly on this statement and thank Mr Rattenbury for bringing it to the Assembly today. I have spoken before on community gardens, backyard gardens and the ways in which communities can come together—how we can do it better and educate and facilitate that in our communities. If we can work out a way where people can take responsibility for spaces, nature strips and reserves in their area—and that includes ways in which they can produce product for people to share, whether it is fruit or vegetables—it would be a great thing. I really want to see some more work done on that area.

I am not sure whether this was mentioned in Mr Rattenbury’s speech—I may have missed it—but backyard chickens are extremely popular in the ACT. Perhaps how these are kept can be part of the process. I have spoken before in the chamber about bees and beekeeping and how important that is for not only the people who keep bees but also our environment, and ensuring that our native fauna is continually regenerated through the hard work of bees.

I also wanted to have a bit more of a conversation about how families who might be time poor or live in higher density housing can create balcony gardens, small places and gardens that need very little maintenance, so they are still able to provide produce for their families and their friends. In addition, I have talked about providing opportunities—again, this comes down to how we legislate or how we make it safe for people to do this—for people in their communities, in their suburbs, to be able to barter or swap produce that has been grown in their community gardens, on their nature reserves or in their own backyards.

Mr Rattenbury also talked about school gardens. These need to be resourced. Unfortunately, often they need to be resourced with volunteers and there is not too much money. We need to work out ways in which we can properly facilitate volunteering in our school communities so that our school gardens can thrive and flourish, people can swap produce and children can learn about eating healthily, and families can also learn as well.

Last year in the ACT Legislative Assembly I asked about worm farms. We produce quite a lot of green waste here. I know that there has been a reluctance for that as an idea in this place, but I still think it is something that we could investigate. Some of the small gardens that we have around this place could be fertilised through our own waste that we create in this place. It is something that I will still be investigating. I think it is an opportunity for us as a community in this building. I thank Mr Rattenbury for bringing this conversation to the Assembly today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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