Page 5490 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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It is a great time to reflect on 2017. It has been a remarkable year for our city. We are privileged, in this place, to help guide Canberra through a rapidly changing world. There is a lot to be positive about, but there is always much more to do. That is why we will be very busy in 2018 across the community’s priorities of health, education, better facilities for our kids, transport systems that cater for a growing city, better and tidier suburbs and a strong, job-creating economy. The years ahead are going to be challenging not just for Canberra but for this nation, but we must always keep moving and keep reforming for the benefit of our citizens.

On a personal note, it is time to reflect on our friends and colleagues who are no longer with us. We will of course bid a final goodbye to Steve Doszpot at his state funeral tomorrow. I acknowledge the loss of our friend and community champion Jayson Hinder this year.

I thank the hardworking staff in my office and across the executive for the work that they do to support me, to support ministers and to support the government. I recognise that these jobs have a huge effect on family and personal lives, so I encourage everyone to make the most of the summer holidays after a very busy year.

I thank my partner, Anthony, for his enduring support and perhaps even more enduring patience with my role here, particularly during the challenging marriage equality postal survey period.

It has been a big year for beards, which have become much more noticeable in this place. I thank Mr Hanson for joining me on this journey—and, indeed, the Clerk. It is one thing that we can agree on.

I thank the officials in my portfolio agencies for the support and advice that they have provided me through the year. I particularly want to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of Bronwen Overton-Clarke, one of the territory’s longest-serving public servants, who will shortly retire from her role as a senior CMD executive and as the Public Sector Standards Commissioner. I wish Bronwen all the best in the future. She has been a huge help to me and to several chief ministers before me in a career spanning 31 years.

Finally, I thank those who keep this city functioning during the year, especially at Christmas time: all of our hardworking emergency services staff, the teachers, nurses, doctors, cleaners and childcare workers and all other public servants for all of the important work that they do for the people of Canberra. And a special thank you goes to those who will be away from your families at Christmas time.

As we approach the bushfire season, thankfully it is a little wet outside. The ground is moist, so we should not have any bushfire issues this summer—fingers crossed. I know that the hardworking team at the ESA will be doing their very best to protect us.

We look forward to working with all of you in 2018. On behalf of the ACT government, have a safe and happy festive season.

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