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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2680 ..

Apparently the government said that it would facilitate and fund continuing social interaction, but this extended to one function last year. Nothing has been arranged since, except for a gathering that the group organised on its own initiative.

Based on this government’s record, and on its many other similar so-called community consultation exercises, I tend to place considerably more store on what the participants are telling me. They tell me that the consultation and survey process has been clunky and even selective. I would suggest that it was designed to achieve a particular outcome. Even meetings at which it was promised a ministerial staffer would attend were for naught, because the staffer pulled out. In one case, this was advised only moments before the meeting was due to begin.

Does this sound familiar to members in this place? I think it does. Given the conflicting stories that I have received, I have put a range of questions on notice. They include a question about what alternatives were considered. Perhaps one of those might have been to put two staff in each session, so that class sizes were maintained but OH&S requirements were satisfied as well. I hope that we will receive a reasonable answer to these questions. In any event, it will be a chance for the government to be a little more candid in its responses than it has been hitherto. I hope the government will seize the opportunity.

The CIT heart health program is an important one for our seniors because it fosters health and promotes social interaction. I hope the government will open its eyes eventually and see those benefits and help to restore a program which had been so successful over such a long period.

Federal government—territory rights

Environment—climate change

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.17): I thank Ms Cheyne for her reminder that today could be the last time that we have to express the fact that the people of the ACT are equal to the other people in Australia, and we deserve our full democratic right. I very much hope that the Senate agrees with this view this evening.

The other thing that I am going to speak about tonight is climate. It is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the weather is getting hotter.

At least three people have died and thousands have been evacuated in California as eight active wildfires continue to burn across the state. California has had a five-year drought, which has killed 129 million trees. They are burning in the fires. There are currently more than 3,000 firefighters fighting. I note the media release from Minister Gentleman saying that 10 of ours will be joining their Californian comrades.

In Japan, it is no better. Eighty people died in July from heat, and more than 35,000 people in Japan were admitted to hospital for heatstroke. The high temperatures follow record rainfall which caused floods and landslides in Japan and killed more than 220 people.

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