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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 September 2015) . . Page.. 3550 ..

However, scouts are resilient. Thanks to the Diamantina’s own fundraising efforts and donations from Scouts ACT, the community, businesses and the Rotary Club of Belconnen, they have finally been able to complete a fantastic new purpose-built hall. I should also add that Kaleen high generously provided an interim space for the Diamantina’s gatherings.

The president of the Scout Association of Australia ACT Branch recently wrote to me to say how grateful they are for the support provided by the Rotary Club of Belconnen. It was the Rotary Club of Belconnen’s donation of $25,000 that enabled the rebuilding of the Diamantina Scout hall to begin. I, too, am a great fan of the works that Rotary does in our community. The Rotary Club of Belconnen has been serving the community since 1971, caring for the aged, youth and those in need. Members come from many different vocations and share an interest in community projects.

Their book, Rotary International: the first forty years—a history of the Rotary Club of Belconnen ACT Incorporated, details many of their achievements. The club’s major source of fundraising has been the Sunday trash and treasure markets at Jamison car park since 1974. On their first day there were 26 stalls selling a range of goods from second-hand clothes and pottery to sheep manure. It was the brainchild of the club’s president, Ron Morrison. Ten years later he told the Canberra Times of that first Sunday, ‘It had been a rainy day, highlighted by the young girl who fell into a pile of sheep manure” and according to the club bulletin it “was a howling success”.

There were 2,000 people that first day. Now the market averages 4,000 and continues to be an important part of the social fabric of Belconnen. To date the market has raised around $5 million. The club was instrumental in promoting the need for a skateboard park in Belconnen in the late 1980s and funding it. There was no skate park then on the north side and the south side skate park was considered too crowded and too far away. Some bus drivers were reluctant to allow skateboards on their buses. A 1989 Canberra Times article says a group of skaters alleged that a bus driver deliberately ran over a $300 board and told them that if they ever caught his bus with those things again “he’d make sure he ran over all of them”.

In 1990 the first Belconnen skate park on Emu Bank was born and a sign was erected to recognise the Rotary Club of Belconnen’s involvement. In 2011, after an upgrade, the park re-opened retaining the infamous 10-foot iconic keyhole bowl. It is the largest and best skate park in Australia. Unfortunately the original sign was lost and I was recently involved in supporting the club’s call for a new sign to recognise their past role. I am pleased to say that the ACT government has recently agreed to meet the costs of a new sign.

Scouting and Rotary are at the very heart of what is good about our community in Canberra. I look forward to our continued involvement and hearing more about their future projects and accomplishments.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 4.43pm until Tuesday, 27 October 2015, at 10 am.

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