Page 1339 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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shed at the Hall showground. On that day I was with the Hall showjumping group, a very active group. It was great to see so many kids out there that day. That underlines the spirit that we see in some of our rural communities.

Pialligo has a fascinating history, being an early site of Aboriginal campsites from where the Indigenous people hunted on the plains and fished the Molonglo River. From 1825, it became home to white settlers who grazed sheep and cattle and planted vegetable gardens and orchards. Its role as a nursery, garden and farming area is intimately tied to the history of the area. Today, Pialligo supplies our city with fresh produce as well as seedlings and plants which green our city. It has a number of cafes and eateries and is a place where local craft can be found. It has experienced pressure from the airport expansion, with roadworks and the removal of trees which were able to be seen directly from the village. Now the eastern broadacre study again puts uncertainty on this area. Pialligo does now have its master plan, and that provides some greater level of certainty for the area.

I note that Mr Wall focused on Tharwa. Tharwa has a very long history, from well before the history of Canberra. It was proclaimed a township in 1862. It has struggled in recent times. Mr Wall spoke about the issues with the bridge and issues with the school. The famous Cuppacumbalong craft centre and adjacent craft shops have closed, and what was a scenic tourist drive incorporating a number of the area’s attractions has waned in popularity. There are many people still passing through the area, and Mr Wall touched a bit on that.

I was interested in the reference to the Tennent dam. Others in this place will perhaps know the history better than I, but I believe that around the time of the 2004 election Mrs Dunne actively advocated for the Tennent dam on behalf of the Liberal Party. It is the reason landholders in the area cannot get long-term certainty on their leases; the Tennent dam is an issue that has prevented them getting those long-term leases. It is important to reflect on the history of these things. I am not quite sure of the point Mr Wall was trying to make. Certainly I would be happy to discuss with him further how we might resolve that issue, because I want to see those rural lessees given greater security of tenure so that they might reasonably invest in their properties and have a degree of certainty. When something like the Tennent dam sits there as a possibility, it is very difficult to grind one’s way through the system to overcome those things even if there are no current plans.

Uriarra has received a lot of discussion in this place in recent times, due to the development the residents did not want to see—the solar farm. The debate about the solar farm indicated that the residents of Uriarra highly value the rural nature of their village. That is why many people chose to move out there when the village was rebuilt and, I believe, what they were seeking to protect in their fight to have the solar farm relocated. In my discussions, they indicated that they did not oppose solar and that they were very keen to see more solar in the ACT. But it was about the location. It also showed, and I agree with Mr Wall on this, the powerful sense of community that exists in our rural villages. People banded together very strongly to campaign, and there was a real sense of community as they engaged with the government. I am heading out to Uriarra again this weekend to talk with residents about how we can work to put a buffer zone in place around Uriarra to ensure that their rural amenity can be guaranteed into the future.

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