Page 1340 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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Hall is perhaps better known to many more recent residents in Canberra, particularly with the very successful Hall markets and a popular main street for people to visit. Whether it is by car or by bicycle, it is a popular place to visit. The Hall village is now a feature on the Canberra centenary trail—one of its first appearances on a Canberra tourism map. That has been one of the most popular aspects of the centenary trail—that northern section near Hall. Until the centenary trail was opened up, it was an area people had not been able to access for many years. The centenary trail has boosted visitation to Hall. I know that anecdotally: I have talked to quite a few people who have made their way out there to experience that part of the centenary trail.

I am not sure if Oaks Estate quite qualifies as a rural village, in the sense that it is on the fringe of the city proper. We have had discussions about Oaks Estate in this Assembly in recent times. While there was some unfortunate language used in those debates, it was valuable to have that discussion about Oaks Estate. As I said during the last debate, I have some sympathy for the residents. They feel that they have been overlooked. I have met with the progress association and offered some further support and consideration of things that we can try and move forward.

When we are talking about these issues, about these rural villages and, in this case, urban villages, it is important that we understand that they are part of our community, part of the broader fabric of the territory.

When it comes to rural villages, they have great potential to become centres of activity around local food production. Last year, as I have mentioned in this place before, I hosted a roundtable on food security to explore how we can increase the amount of food produced and processed in the local region. A number of policy proposals were presented that would be relevant to rural villages, including specific zoning for agriculture in the territory plan; investigating communal farming opportunities on the urban rural fringe; more intensive agriculture, such as greenhouses, hydroponics and aquaponics; food labelling to promote local produce; and initiatives to utilise organic waste as compost. There is a very bright future with an expansion in regional production, including regional food tourism focused on sustainably produced food and wine. This region is already developing somewhat of a reputation in that space. With my primary industries part of the TAMS portfolio, it is something I am continuing to seek to work on.

In the region we have seen that villages such as Bungendore, Braidwood, Murrumbateman, Goulburn and Yass have done quite well in redefining themselves and putting themselves back on the tourist map. We saw the Collector pumpkin festival on the weekend. These villages are seeking to create a distinct name for themselves in attracting regional revenue. We need to seek to make similar opportunities for our rural villages here in the ACT.

We need a range of initiatives to assist local residents and community groups to lure city dwellers and tourists to our villages. It is important that we do not lose these links to where our European settlement and ongoing Aboriginal custodianship originated.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.25): I am pleased to speak today on the matter of public importance—the importance of our rural villages. I would like to speak about

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