Page 558 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 19 February 2020

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and other games. This is all available in a shed that is fully insulated and has heating, cooling and, of course, a kitchen to allow for the preparation of morning tea. And rule No 1 at the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed is always to stop for morning tea.

Collectively, these “excuses” appear to be accomplishing their purpose. I have very much enjoyed visiting the shed and seeing the hum of activity and the warm friendship that takes place there. This well-run men’s shed provides a safe and busy environment where men can feel good about themselves, be productive, contribute to their community, forge new connections and maintain active bodies and minds. I absolutely love it.

I thank Gordon Cooper, president of the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, and the rest of his team for their fantastic leadership. But there are so many others who deserve thanks too. They include the men’s shed members themselves and the good work they perform in warmly welcoming new members and visitors and sharing their knowledge and their skills.

I also thank the Mosaic Baptist Church, which facilitated the building of the shed. Forty-eight generous Canberra businesses and community organisations sponsor the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, donating labour, equipment and money. I express my sincere thanks to each one of them. This is truly a community endeavour, one that clearly demonstrates how much good can be done when good people come together with a determination to make a difference. Successful small business owners and members of local clubs are so often the backbone that supports essential community efforts like the men’s shed. I enthusiastically wish the Belconnen Community Men’s Shed, its members and its sponsors the very best for 2020 and beyond. Thank you for making life better for so many men in Canberra.

State of the environment report

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (6.28): I rise tonight to talk about the State of the environment report which was tabled in the Assembly by my colleague Minister Rattenbury last week. It is nearly 400 pages long. Because of that, I have not read it all, so I will concentrate on the ecological footprint section, and I hope that I will have time to come back to other issues in the future.

An ecological footprint measures the area in hectares that is required to support a population. This means it can be used as an overall measure of the effect that our daily activities and resource consumption have on the environment and, importantly, it can be used to compare different communities’ environmental impact.

The commissioner for the environment calculated that, in 2017-18, the total ecological footprint for the ACT was around 2.19 million hectares. This is over nine times the size of the ACT, so at current consumption levels we need an area nine times the size of the ACT to provide the resources, goods and services that we use, and to absorb and regulate the pollution that we create. As the commissioner writes:

It is clear that our current resource use is unsustainable, placing enormous stress on the earth’s natural ecosystems.

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