Page 2258 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2016

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in Gungahlin wanted to build a church for that area for the Catholic community and various cultural communities that are Catholic as well, he lamented that if he did not build something soon an entire generation of children would grow up without seeing what it was to go to church on Sunday in a Catholic church. I think the very same intention is felt strongly by the Hindu and Muslim communities: they do not want a whole generation of children to grow up without experiencing faith experiences in a place that is designed for that purpose. The nature of faith experience is that a built environment does matter to how those ceremonies and experiences are experienced.

So while I welcome that we might be able to do more to use current facilities, I stress the importance of the rights of people to worship in the way they see fit, and for us to support that in a jurisdiction which pays particular regard to the human rights of people who live in the ACT.

People can no less take off their religious beliefs than they can leave them at the front door or take a piece of their heart out. Faith, for people who have beliefs, is an inextricable part of who they are. We need to do more to allow generations to grow up in Canberra in appropriate faith, church, mosque, temple and synagogue type facilities.

There is also a strong desire for many of these communities to build these facilities at cost. They are not asking necessarily for special treatment; they just want access to a place to build. Some of them have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars already. They take pride in their success and their jobs and they are willing to invest their own money in these facilities. We need to open up the process of getting those groups a home.

Earlier arrived communities—not the new and emerging communities, but the older and more established communities in Canberra—were granted land fairly easily, from my understanding. They were also granted licences for poker machines, for better or for worse, to open community clubs. I am not saying that should be the way of the future; I am not a huge supporter of doing that to establish community clubs. But these groups tend to be able to really raise money because their hearts are truly in it. We need to have an openness towards them.

The reason I go to the issue of respect in my motion is that a lot of these communities who are trying to build a temple, a mosque or a church feel as though a carrot is held out and then withdrawn, and then it is held out and then withdrawn: the goalposts shift. They feel they are doing everything that they are asked to do, and yet decisions are being made away from them. They do not really understand how or why such decisions are made when they have been given commitments by officials, generally, that they are going to get X block of land, and then X block of land is taken off the table. That is the point I want to get to on the matter of respect.

I understand why the government would amend the motion; I know that this is the normal practice, and I understand that Mr Rattenbury would support that amendment. That is fairly normal practice. But we cannot support 2(b), because I feel that matter goes to the respect of people. Paragraph 2(b) says:

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