Page 3212 - Week 10 - Thursday, 17 September 2015

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meetings were held, is a great meeting place and a resource for local people. Minister Burch also spoke of the use of ACT school facilities for community use, which presents opportunities in all parts of Canberra. The government and the cabinet continue to discuss options for the best ways to support a strong and diverse Woden community in Woden. I again thank those who participated in the community services roundtable.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how did community leaders respond to this initiative?

MS BERRY: The community responded positively to the opportunity to talk directly with ACT government ministers. They were represented through a diverse range of services, including the Smith Family, Woden Community Service, the Capital Health Centre of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Council on the Ageing, Winnunga Nimmityjah and the local arm of the Australian Red Cross. These are busy people, taking the time to come and connect directly with the government in their own backyard to make sure we are working together as much as possible on the local priorities.

I spoke yesterday in question time about the benefits we are seeing through the local service network in west Belconnen and the fact that these networks often exist informally in different parts of the city. While some pressures are common from place to place, each area has distinct local qualities. One of the great strengths of the better services policy framework is its ability to respond to these local differences.

I note also the willingness of younger people to take the change to speak with me and other ministers and government staff, including through the pop-up stall and the one-on-one meetings which were held. Finally, I especially acknowledge the kids, parents and carers who joined with me at story time in the Woden Library—a simple but vital community institution which gets our kids and parents socialising together from such a young age.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what are some of the pressures being felt in the Woden area?

MS BERRY: We know that Woden is changing. There are big changes happening both in the town centre and in the surrounding suburbs. Some of this change is really exciting, not least the development of the Molonglo valley and projects such as the new school in Coombs.

Community members spoke about these changes, their aspirations and some of their concerns. At the top of the concerns is that of retailers and community service providers about the impacts of large numbers of commonwealth public servants moving out of office space in Woden. It is a reminder of a distinct local economy hit particularly hard by the scale and the speed of the job cuts.

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