Page 1500 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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Canberra community. Every member in this place should be looking for new and innovative ways of engaging with members of our community. But Canberrans should not be expected to differentiate between “have your say” and “your say” when trying to provide feedback about government programs and services.

It is our job to make community consultation as easy and as simple to engage with as possible, and I believe the Liberal Party’s latest attempt at community engagement has done exactly the opposite. I raise this issue today because it is important that people know where there information is going and what it is being used for. We should all be doing more to engage with our constituents, but we must do it in a way that is open, transparent and beneficial to our community.

Seniors Week

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.36): I rise today to talk about COTA, which recently coordinated ACT’s Seniors Week in March. COTA is the peak organisation for all issues relating to older Canberrans. They work with government, community organisations and the public to protect and promote the wellbeing, rights and interests of all older people in the ACT.

For more than 20 years COTA has organised the annual Seniors Week, and this year saw hundreds of events across the week, starting with the launch on 17 March. As part of Seniors Week, COTA was the charity recipient of Music at Midday on 12 April 2017. This was a great fundraiser for COTA to help fund their valuable work in providing free services to seniors on a range of issues. COTA and I would like to acknowledge the organisers, volunteers, board, staff, the RMC Band, the Australian Rugby Choir and all of the organisations and individuals who participated.

I would also like to commend the work of the president, Ewan Brown, CEO, Jenny Mobbs, and the tireless volunteers including Anne McNamara, Cheryl Overall, Margaret Simmonds, Maria Philpot, Jan Yannopolis, Anne McNeilly and Paul Feldman. I also thank the other staff at COTA for the work they do.

Seniors Week engaged thousands of older Canberrans through the Chief Minister’s concert, the Seniors Expo and the positive ageing awards. With our ageing population, it was great to see the Canberra community come together to recognise the contribution made by and for our older residents. You can get more information and support from COTA at

The Forage

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (5.38): On Saturday, 8 April I had the pleasure of participating in a great Canberra event, The Forage. The Forage debuted in Canberra in 2014. It is the brainchild of Belinda and Tim Neame, who are Belconnen residents. Since its inception it has been bringing people and local businesses together to celebrate our local arts and culinary offerings.

I have been consistently attending The Forage since 2014. In my view it just keeps getting better and better. This event represents some of the things I love the most

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