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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 May 2015) . . Page.. 1573 ..

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition): I commend the Chief Minister for bringing this motion before us today. I thank him for doing so. I will start where he finished—that is, I am sure all members of this place would have similar sentiments in expressing our condolences to the people of Nepal. I express our deepest sympathies to all of those in Nepal, and to the Canberra Nepalese community. It is great to see representatives here today. I acknowledge and welcome His Excellency Mr Rudra Kumar, the Ambassador of Nepal, and also Mr Sam Wong. It is great to see Mr Wong here again in our Assembly, representing our multicultural communities.

Madam Speaker, our thoughts are with the millions of people who have been affected by this tragic event. This was Nepal’s deadliest earthquake in more than 80 years, and it was with shock that Australians heard the news of the massive devastation.

It is simply impossible to fathom the sorrow and grief being experienced by the Nepalese community. They have seen so many of their loved ones die or become homeless, as well as the devastation that has now been wreaked upon this beautiful nation.

There is also heartache closer to home for many Australians, the many people who are lost or who have been killed, the trekkers, the NGO volunteers, the guides, residents and people who have been buried by landslides and avalanches triggered by the earthquake. My understanding is that in many areas the searches have been suspended and there is now the grim task of recovering the deceased. The horror, shock and desperation are just unimaginable.

I was very pleased, as I am sure we all were, to know that the Australian nation has stepped up, with bipartisan support, to provide funding to help Nepal recover. Certainly Nepal will need every cent that is being provided. The funding that has been provided by the federal government will support women, vulnerable communities and small businesses, and will provide support to devastated areas. My understanding is that, at this stage, the casualty toll is close to 8,000 people, with 17,800 injured—a phenomenal number.

The amount provided is about $15 million, and it is supporting the United Nations relief effort, the WHO, the Red Cross and other Australian and international NGOs. The federal government also provided two C-17 aircraft, carrying tonnes of Australian aid and two RAAF aeromedical evacuation teams.

I thank the Chief Minister for the support that has been provided by the ACT government—a donation of $10,000. I think that is most welcome and certainly has support from those on this side of the chamber.

It is also great to see the fundraising activities that are occurring in our community. It is good to see that the multicultural community is getting together and that the Canberra community is getting together with fundraising activities. I am aware of those activities. I am also aware that there was a soccer match at which Mr Doszpot officiated. Congratulations to the Narayani Warriors, who were the victors of that tournament that raised much-needed funds for the community as well.

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