Page 3803 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015

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Dirk from Page said, “My say concerns the ability of a single person, belonging to a party that is claiming to be democratic and community concerned, to impose its will on a whole city, without reference to the people. I am talking about the exorbitant commitment to spend about one billion dollars on a light rail system that will benefit only a relatively small part of the population.” Paul from Hawker said, “Rail equals chaos for over four years during construction. Beautiful trees along Northbourne will be axed, major car parks around the city closed for over five years. It will affect Melbourne building business.” He said about Mr Corbell that “rail was unrealistic”. He continued, “Rattenbury controls policy. Used to be four greens; now just one. I cannot believe all eight Labor MLAs agree to this scheme. I suppose they dare not speak out.”

“No, no, no,” said Mary and Alison from Page. Anne from Higgins said, “The bus service in Canberra is below par in that there are no timely bus services. Buses are far more flexible than light rail. Bring in an express bus from Belconnen to Canberra Hospital.” “We are absolutely opposed to the extravagant expenditure on a light rail,” said Judy and Ken from Dunlop. “A mad decision,” said Frank from Charnwood. He went on to say, “The cost of establishing is now is too high. Light rail will not get people to where they want to go and has to be associated with other forms of transport. Why not spend money on our bus system or move to smaller, more flexible buses and bus services. If the government doesn’t abandon the light rail project I will be voting Liberal for the first time in my life.”

Annual silent sports challenge

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.24): Recently, on Wednesday, 14 October, I was pleased to participate in the annual silent sports challenge here in Canberra, at Parliament House, along with some fellow parliamentary colleagues, both local and federal, and to take on very tough competitors, the Deaf ACT netball team. It was part of the Silent Owls Cup match.

The annual silent sports challenge is a fantastic opportunity for deafness organisations to raise awareness of the large number of Australians who suffer from a hearing impairment; that is, one in six Australians have some form of hearing loss or a chronic disorder of the ear.

In this netball match, which unfortunately for me was held very early in the morning, participants who are hearing were required to wear ear plugs to simulate what it is like to be deaf or have a hearing impairment. You are also not permitted to talk. So it emulates the experience of the deaf participants who are the opposition in the match. It was quite a challenge for everyone, especially the more vocal members of the federal parliamentary sports group.

Experiencing opportunities like this achieves a greater understanding of the challenges that people who are deaf or hard of hearing face every day. We all had a great time. The chairman of the Deafness Forum of Australia, David Brady, brought to our attention the large number of Australians who suffer from some form of hearing loss. It is, as I said, one in six—currently over four million Australians. Being

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