In my first speech in parliament I talked of Canberra's immense natural beauty. Ours is a unique city planned to complement and sit within that beauty. Set within a ring of mountains, our community is a patchwork of parklands, reserves and lakes, all connected by our precious urban waterways. Canberrans love these spaces and are out enjoying them even on the coldest of days. Understanding the link between healthy waterways and a healthy city, federal Labor committed to work hand in hand with local community groups around the country to develop comprehensive plans to regenerate our nation's urban waterways. I was excited to be able to secure a commitment to fund these projects in Canberra had we won government.
Our plan in Canberra included funds to build new wetlands, revegetate and birdscape creek corridors with tree and shrub plantings, engineer new waste capture mechanisms to remove pollutants and turn concreted waterways back to their natural state. My team and I worked closely with shadow minister Tony Burke, Senator Katy Gallagher and local community groups working in the catchment and conservation space, including the Molonglo Conservation Group, ACT Woodland and Wetlands Conservation Trust, SEE-Change and the Ginninderra Catchment Group. Led largely by a dedicated group of Canberra women, I was so inspired by the commitment to Canberra's natural environment, their mission of raising community awareness of just how fragile it is and the human need to be connected to it. I would like to give a special mention to Karen Williams and the Molonglo Conservation Group, who spoke about the links between conservation and Indigenous cultural significance and the many significant sites in and around Canberra.
I was excited one of my first community events as the member for Canberra was helping to clean up one of our local waterways, Giralang Pond. I joined Suzanne Orr MLA, the hardworking volunteers of the Giralang Pond Landcare Group and many locals who wanted to get involved in caring for the waterway. This event with Suzanne is emblematic of the longstanding commitment that the ACT government has to these groups and Canberra's natural environment. I hope community events like this will become a regular feature of my first term.