The ACT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB) handed over its fourth report to government today at a ceremony at the Legislative Assembly. I’m pictured here with Minister Shane Rattenbury receiving the report from the Elected Body members (from left) Diane Collins, Rod Little (chairperson) , Lynette Goodwin and Maurice Walker.
The report is the result of the ATSIEB’s estimates style hearings with government directorates and agencies and community consultations. The report, including recommendations, should be available shortly and the government will prepare its response.
MARSS of the ACT Inc stall at the National Multi Cultural Festival 2014
Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) http://marss.org.au/ has been assisting with the settlement of migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants for over 30 years.
The Centre has grown to become a vibrant service-oriented organisation, offering programs to all ages. Some of the significant services they offer are intensive settlement support to humanitarian clients upon first arriving in Australia; free assistance under the Settlement Grants Program for refugee or humanitarian visa holders, newly arrived migrants on family visas with low English proficiency who have been in Australia between six months and five years. MARSS also offer their services once a month at CIT Bruce and CIT Gungahlin. These outreach services are also free.
Last year I attended the launch of the MARSS learn to drive program which has proved a huge success and the Harmony sports carnival, a project aimed at building confidence among young males at risk through positive social activities like basketball skills development with Basketball ACT.
If you would like to get involved MARSS is looking for people who have a good knowledge of Canberra to volunteer in either settlement support, as an English tutor, to help young students with homework/assignments, and to give practical assistance through a residential property investment.
It was a great honour to welcome on behalf of the ACT Government members of the Australian Bravery Association (ABA) to Canberra for their annual conference at Duntroon recently.
I was especially proud that Canberrans, Jason and Jodie Roff, and Navy Commander Scott Palmer were being honoured as new members of the Association.
The Australian Bravery and Gallantry award system recognizes distinguished acts of bravery or gallantry by members of the community and uniformed services who’ve selflessly placed themselves in jeopardy to save another’s life.
In 2009 Jason and Jodie Roff stopped their car on seeing smoke coming from a house in Langdon Avenue, Wanniassa. After ringing triple zero they entered the home and assisted two elderly people to safely before the house was engulfed with fire.
Navy Commander Scott Palmer undertook helicopter evacuations during the 2011 Queensland floods and contributed to the winch rescue of a man trapped in a tree surrounded by flood waters.
The ABA also dedicates itself to the recognition of our community’s heroes and providing support to award recipients and their families.
Nominations for bravery awards can be made at www.itsanhonour.gov.au .
The Australian Bravery awards were introduced in 1975 by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
The new Chancellor of the University of Canberra Dr Tom Calma AO gave a wide ranging address at the National Press Club today to a large audience that included myself and fellow MLAs Mick Gentleman and Mary Porter.
We also witnessed Dr Calma being officially installed as the sixth Chancellor of the University of Canberra at the address.
Dr Calma brings a wealth of experience to the post including as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission (2004 – 2010), as Race Discrimination Commissioner (2004 – 2009), and as a senior diplomat in Vietnam and India. He was a spokesperson for the Close the Gap for Indigenous Health Equality Campaign, and played a guiding role in setting up the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
Dr Calma’s skills as a thinker, a great networker and in bringing people together will serve the University well.
Vintage Reds, a new network of retired progressive unionists in the Canberra region was officially launched by ACTU President Ged Kearney at the Unions ACT offices in Mitchell on 15-2-14. In the photo at the launch I am with Jane Timbrell, one of the founders of Vintage Reds, Ged Kearney and Kim Sattler Unions ACT Secretary.
Vintage Reds gives older unionist a chance to socialise, support each other and continue to be involved in campaigning using the skills acquired over a lifetime.
Ged Kearney praised Vintage reds and said they can play an important role in supporting the struggles for worker’s rights especially when the union movement and retirees are under sustained pressure from the new federal government.
To contact the Vintage Reds email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chinese Spring Festival went off with a bang with the largest party poppers I’d ever seen. It was just one part of the exciting National Multicultural Festival in Canberra on the weekend. With an estimated 250,000 people jamming into Civic despite the heat over the three days it has become one of the signature attractions of the national capital. It shows the great diversity and unity we can all be proud of. Congratulations to all the communities, embassies, organisers and families who were a part of it. I look forward to the 2015 festival to being just as good, but hopefully the temperature is a little cooler.
Old service station sites next to shopping centres are springing back to life in Belconnen as prime development opportunities. The Page service station is being redeveloped into residential apartments and retail space and a site at Jamison has also been redeveloped. I am pictured here outside the Freestyle apartments developed on the Holt Service station site a few years ago by CHC Affordable Housing. They also redeveloped the O’Connor service station site as part of the City Edge development. Redevelopment of disused service station sites is revitalising suburbs and local shopping centres while providing Canberrans with a wider range of housing choices.
I met with the project team for the Scentenary Garden in Bruce, a specially scented garden created in the Centenary year.
The scented therapeutic garden benefits the consumers, carers and staff at the Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre.
The garden, on the Calvary Hospital campus was opened by the Chief Minister Katy Gallagher who marked the launch by planting a small tree.
The scented garden is a partnership between ACT Health, the architecture and design collective Canberra Lab, and the University of Canberra Faculty of Arts & Design and it received Centenary of Canberra funding.
Belconnen Town Centre – artist’s impression 1970
Belconnen Town Centre concept plan – 1970
The artist’s impression and concept plan above of a future Belconnen Town Centre are from a 1970 book Tomorrow’s Canberra by the National Capital Development Commission.
This year the ACT Government will be revisiting the 2001 Belconnen Town Centre Masterplan. The masterplan discusses how over the last half century ideas for the town centre and the open space around it have changed.
I’d like to hear from you how you’d like our town centre to evolve over the next 10, 20 or 50 years. What qualities should we be encouraging in the heart of Belconnen especially as we approach our fiftieth anniversary? Please leave comments here or email me at Bourke@act.gov.au.
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt holding the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Human Rights Day 2013 in December not only marked the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but 20 years since the adoption by the World Conference on Human Rights of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
On Human Rights Day I joined the ACT Baha’i community in their commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Baha’i motto is ‘The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens’. The community held a multi-faith service and entertained us with artistic performances. Professor Fariborz Moshirian, Director of the Institute of Global Finance, University of NSW gave the keynote speech on fighting poverty – a matter of rights, not charity.