House of Representatives, 1 June 2023
In Reconciliation Week, it is appropriate that that House has passed the Voice to Parliament referendum bill, now for consideration with the Senate.
It was a pleasure on Tuesday morning to join the member for Robertson and other conveners of Parliamentary Friends of Running, the member for Gippsland and the member for Warringah, with Rob de Castella's Indigenous Marathon Foundation group and a range of Canberra supporters of the work that the Indigenous Marathon Foundation does. I am pleased to be a long-time supporter of the foundation, having run the six World Marathon Majors as a supporter of theirs. I'm off to South Africa on Sunday week to run the 87-kilometre Comrades ultramarathon, the world's largest and oldest ultramarathon.
We are fortunate now to have in the parliament 11 First Nations representatives, including six in the Labor caucus. My own understanding of First Nations issues has been greatly enhanced by the privilege of representing the people of Wreck Bay in the Jervis Bay community. When Canberra was formed, the notion was that every capital city needed a port, and so the electorate of Fenner includes the Jervis Bay Territory. Wreck Bay is a beautiful community with thousands of years of connection to the land. Over recent years though the housing has fallen into some disrepair. There are 152 people across 49 households in Wreck Bay, according to the 2021 census, and there has been a degree of disrepair in the housing stock. In last year's budget, we invested $5 million for repairing housing in Wreck Bay; in this budget, we've made a historic investment of $45 million. I was pleased to join the minister for regional development, Kristy McBain, in Wreck Bay recently to discuss this announcement with the community and how houses will be brought up to standard in conjunction with the Wreck Bay board.
I want to acknowledge members of the board—Annette Brown, Beverly Ardler, Jeffrey McLeod, Erica Ardler, Julie Moore, Jeff Williams, Gavin McLeod, Paul Ardler and Darryn Sturgeon—and thank them for the work they do for the community.
I recognise too that there has been a recent settlement reached in the PFAS contamination issue. And while this comes with a monetary settlement, it has been described by the plaintiffs as being 'bittersweet'. Damage has been done and I acknowledge the hurt that this issue has caused to members of the Wreck Bay community.