Calvary Hospital’s Reconciliation Action Plan is an important step forward for Calvary as one of Belconnen’s great institutions, a major employer and a crossroads of the Belconnen, and Canberra, community where the reconciliation message can be very effective.
I’m seen here at the launch unveiling the plan with Simon Gordon of Reconciliation Australia and Calvary’s CEO Ray Dennis.
Calvary Hospital’s Reconciliation Action Plan is the first developed by a Little Company of Mary Health Care service. It will ensure that everyone at Calvary, whether staff or patients, will know of Calvary’s deep commitment to reconciliation and how to advance it.
The plan was developed by the hospital with staff, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as well as Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community.
The Plan includes:
- respect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, traditions and culture;
- equitable access to services;
- development of culturally appropriate services;
- recruitment, education and training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people;
- procurement of goods and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island suppliers, and;
- ongoing promotion of reconciliation within the broader community of professionals and volunteers.
Launching the Canberra Centenary Horse Ride, I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of young riders at Hall Showgrounds and Christine Lawrence (pictured), President of the ACT Equestrian Association.
The ride along the Bicentennial National Trail on Sunday was a celebration of Canberra as the horse riding capital. We have the highest level of horse ownership, per capita, of any major Australian city, the best great trails though rolling landscape and convenient agistments around the city.
Horses have been part of Canberra city from the start. They featured in Canberra’s naming and foundation stone ceremony in 1913 with units of the Australian Light Horse and NSW Lancers parading, not knowing they would soon to be sent off to war.
Back then, horses were still an important part of Canberra’s working life on farms, in transport and in construction.
The Bicentennial National Trail stretches 5330 kilometres from Cooktown in far North Queensland, through the ACT and on to Healesville in Victoria.
These methane gas harvesting pipes are dotted over the now closed clay-capped landfill sites at West Belconnen Resource Management Centre on Parkwood Road. Together the West Belconnen and Mugga Lane Landfill Gas Power Plants produce around 28,000 megawatt hours annually – equivalent to powering about 3,300 homes for a year.
It is just one of the uses of the site that most people in Belconnen know for the Green Waste Recycling Facility, the recycling drop off area for motor oils, heater oils and car batteries and the recycling area for paper and cardboard glass jars and bottles, rigid plastic containers, milk and juice cartons, aluminium cans and steel cans (including aerosols).
While the landfill is closed, the site is actively managed and monitored. A separate area accepts asbestos contaminated soils from companies granted a permit with strict licence conditions to ensure the safety of staff, the community and the surrounding environment. This area will eventually be permanently capped.
Another area is for rehabilitating contaminated soil from sites such as old service stations, in what is known as land farming, where the hydrocarbons are composted and broken down over time by microbes.
I was on top of Reservoir Hill in Belconnen today for the launch of the new suburb of Lawson by Andrew Barr with Clint Peters of the Land Development Agency.
From Reservoir Hill in Lawson the Belconnen town centre and Ginninderra Drive are behind us. Away to the right, Lawson sits on the edge of the northern reach of Lake Ginninderra opposite McKellar, and is bordered to the left, or the eastern side by Baldwin Drive Kaleen.
A mix of 1800 dwellings from houses to high density flats, shops and other facilities will be developed in this prime location across Ginninderra Drive from the University of Canberra. The first lots should go on sale later this year with home building commencing late next year. Twenty per cent of the homes in Lawson will be available as affordable housing.
Lawson will include open space corridors around the lake, Reservoir Hill, College Creek and the old stock route through the site. It will also be built using the Green Building Council’s ‘GreenStar Communities’ environmental rating tool.
Thanks to Ainslie Primary School students for hosting the 2013 launch of Canberra’s Biggest Healthy Bones Morning Tea. Arthritis ACT has been organising the event for 20 years to promote bone health especially among the young with many primary schools participating each year. I launched last year’s event at St Monica’s Primary School Evatt.
This year’s theme was preventing early onset osteoporosis, and I spoke to the students about three simple strategies to reduce the risk:
1. Get enough calcium in your diet.
2. Get enough Vitamin D – ideally from sunlight on your skin, and
3. Get active exercise, including doing weight bearing exercises.
Another message for students was to be careful around with older people who may have brittle bones.
Our backs are turned on the beautiful view above the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee rivers confluence to examine effluent on a tour of ACTEW Water’s Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre. Micro-organisms help breakdown the sludge in the pool pictured, just one of the multiple processes that ensure the clear, treated water discharged to the Molonglo doesn’t harm rivers downstream in the Murray Darling basin. Solids are carefully incinerated at the centre to produce Agri-Ash, a soil conditioner for farmers distributed by a company based in Gunning.
Around 70 people are involved the 24 hour operation at the plant making it one of the largest employers in west Belconnen.
When constructed in 1975, the centre attracted water treatment engineers from around the world to see its innovations. It has been upgraded over the years to keep pace with world best practice and Canberra’s population growth.
As Australia’s largest inland city Canberra has a special responsibility that the treated water we feed back into the Murray Darling basin does no damage. Our waste is treated to a much higher standard than in the state capital cities which discharge treated sewerage into the sea to disperse.
The centre is near where the Murrumbidgee River crosses the NSW border which is the lowest spot in the ACT. The fall in height allows the two sewer mains from north and south Canberra that meet at the centre to use gravity for most of the system.
Our sewerage system still incorporates the heritage listed main outfall sewer built between 1915 and 1926 from the Parliamentary triangle to the old treatment plant at Weston Creek. Engineers Australia’s wonderful centennial gift, a 330 page book, A century of Canberra Engineering, observes that several parliamentary hearings and a Royal Commission affected the stop start construction of the then controversial sewer.
Later north Canberra was joined to this sewer through a pipe incorporated into Commonwealth Avenue bridge with vent, or stink pipe, in one of the four bridge towers built to disguise the fact.
West Belconnen Child and Family Centre and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families held a great Health Expo for the start of NAIDOC in July which also included Johnny Huckle (with guitar) entertaining us around the fire.
I don’t often get to kiss a baby but here I am with my former Aranda neighbour, and family friend, Penny Langdown with her beautiful daughter born on Canberra’s 100th birthday.
Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher presented the 21 babies born in Canberra on 12 March 2013 with a special Centenary medallion in June. The babies in their special Centenary tops stayed still long enough for this great group photo.
Thanks to the enthusiastic children at Palmerston District Primary School for inviting me to their National Tree Day plantings on 26 July. They also showed off their individual designs for their new garden with native plants donated by Greening Australia.
I was very impressed by the Eclipse affordable housing development in Braybrooke Street, Bruce yesterday. Minister Andrew Barr and Member for Fraser, Dr Andrew Leigh opened the final stage of Eclipse in recognition of the Federal and ACT governments working with the not-for-profit ACT developer CHC Affordable Housing.
Over 130 rental units are available in Eclipse at only 80 per cent of the market rent. It means great units in the very desirable Bruce neighbourhood are within reach of people on low or moderate incomes who meet the CHC criteria.