Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 August 2015) . . Page.. 2392 ..
Diamantina Scout Group
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.31): On 27 July I hosted a reception for board members and volunteers of the RSPCA in the Speaker’s hospitality room. Guests toured the Assembly, led by our very capable education officer, Neal Baudinette, and then joined me, along with my colleagues Ms Lawder and Mr Doszpot, for an informal reception. The RSPCA was represented by CEO Tammy Ven Dange along with Louise Douglas, Michael Sassella, Catherine Croatto, Christine Marimon, Melissa Smith, Lilian Wong, Naomi Dempsey, Josh Pickham, Leisa Quin, Jessica Robbie, Emma Ford, Stan Rinaldi, Pearl Moyseyenko, Belinda Lowrey and Rhiannon Hinds.
In conversation, representatives of the RSPCA raised a number of issues, including what they consider to be inadequate sentences for people convicted of serious animal abuse. A Change.org petition calling for tougher sentences for people convicted of animal abuse or violence received several thousand signatures early this month. These are encouraging signs. As recently as last week the Magistrates Court handed down a sentence for animal cruelty that Ms Ven Dange commented on in the media by saying:
We are pleased to see for the first time that a magistrate has handed down a reasonable punishment for an act of cruelty against an animal.
On 21 July, I spoke at the Belconnen Community Council about “The people of Belconnen: their frustrations, needs and vision”. I spoke of the issues that constituents often raise with me, such as hefty rate increases over the past four years, the failure of the ACT government to provide an appropriate level of services to match the rates paid, and the proposed light rail scheme between Gungahlin and the city. I also advised that the Canberra Liberals will be releasing policies over the next year advising how we could do things differently from the current government. As well, I spoke about the role of the Speaker in the Assembly and the work of the Assembly in our community. I encouraged council members to visit their Assembly, to see the Assembly in session and to visit their local members.
I understand that other members for Ginninderra will be invited to speak with the Belconnen Community Council in the coming months. I thank the chairperson of the Belconnen Community Council, Tara Cheyne, and committee member Damien Haas, who extended the invitation.
In November 2010, vandals burnt down the Diamantina Scout Group hall in Kaleen. In the years since then, the Diamantina Scout Group has been working long and hard to cover the gap between the insurance payout and the cost of building a new hall. Recently the Rotary Club of Belconnen made a generous donation of $25,000 from the Jamison trash and treasure markets to allow a contract to be signed and reconstruction to commence. This is a truly magnificent gesture from Belconnen Rotary, and it is great to see the funds raised from our now legendary trash and