Page 1571 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the Chief Minister, I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of the Ambassador of Nepal, Mr Rudra Kumar Nepal, and 24 members of the Australia Nepal Friendship Society. Welcome to the ACT Legislative Assembly.


Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its profound sorrow at the devastating loss of life and destruction of homes and communities arising from the earthquake in Nepal, and offers its heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of the many victims of this tragedy.

It is with a heavy heart that I rise today to express our community’s grief in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal late last month. I too would like to acknowledge His Excellency Mr Rudra Kumar Nepal, Ambassador of Nepal, for joining us today, along with members of Canberra’s Nepalese community. This community has been working tirelessly with their Australian friends to provide aid and support for those who are suffering.

If only we could be together today under happier circumstances, Madam Speaker. But I acknowledge the community’s determination, along with that of everyone in Canberra, to aid those living half a world away and to provide a small ray of light in these dark times.

The nightly footage on our television news and the distressing stories online of loved ones lost to the disaster provide a small glimpse of the scale of this human tragedy. Here in Canberra we can only imagine the immense sense of despair that the people of Nepal are confronting as each day passes. The awful loss of life and widespread destruction of some of the nation’s most precious cultural monuments and relics is very difficult to comprehend. In particular, our city’s thoughts are with those who are still awaiting news of their loved ones, and those who are facing bleak conditions in the many isolated areas that are affected.

During this difficult time it is important that we also rally around members of Canberra’s Nepalese community. Our city is home to more than 1,000 people of

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