Page 2207 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 August 2017

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Valentine Max Jeffery OAM

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its profound sorrow at the death of the former MLA for Brindabella, Valentine Jeffery OAM, who leaves a remarkable legacy in his community of Tharwa and the wider Canberra region, and tenders its sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Madam Acting Speaker, today we mourn the loss of a colleague. Val Jeffery was a lifelong Canberran and an iconic part of our city. He was a man who stood up for what he believed was right and, as I and others would be acutely aware, he never shied away from causing a political stir.

Val Jeffery was Tharwa’s unofficial mayor for decades. He owned and operated the Tharwa general store since 1948. He met thousands of people—locals and those who had travelled to Tharwa for the day alike, and he was always up for a chat. His passion and enthusiasm for rural life were evident for all to see. He was a major advocate for rural ACT. As the city of Canberra grew rapidly in the decades after the Second World War, Val stood up for those on rural properties and in villages surrounding a growing city.

Over the decades he fought for his community, leading the campaign to reopen the Tharwa bridge, and he was instrumental in bringing the community together after the 2003 bushfire recovery effort. On top of that, Val was captain of the local bushfire brigade for 38 years. Bushfire recovery and abatement was a cause he was very strongly committed to, cared very deeply about and championed in this place.

Of course, he was also very active politically. For half a century he was an active member of the Canberra Liberals, before standing for the Community Alliance Party in the 2008 ACT election, in the seat of Brindabella, and then for the Canberra Liberals in the 2012 election, in Brindabella.

It would be fair to say that his election to the Assembly last year on a countback was well deserved. His maiden speech was full of tales of his rich life experience. While it is true to say that we on this side of the chamber did not always agree with Val, ACT Labor and I personally always greatly appreciated his passion and enthusiasm for engaging in issues important to the Tharwa community and to the broader Canberra community. He was a true local champion, honoured with the Order of Australia Medal for his services to his community.

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