By Barbara Donaldson
Musica da Camera, a community string orchestra will be holding their next concerts on -Saturday 14 April, 3pm, Holy Covenant Anglican Church, Dexter Street, Cook;
Sunday 15 April, 3pm, “Mona” Braidwood.
A rich program of string music directed by Barbara Jane Gilby, including works by Mozart and Copland. Violin soloist is Alethea Coombe. Tickets at the door – $20 Adults, $15 concession and children under 12 free
By Barbara Donaldson
By Rob Barron, Boxing ACT PresidentBoxing ACT will begin another hectic year of boxing when it presents its first tournament for 2007 on Saturday March 3 at the Tradesmen’s Club Phillip.
This tournament will feature local aspiring boxers who will vie for selections to the World Championships later in this year in Russia.
Other major events coming up include the National Selections to the World Championships which are being held at the AIS between 23-25 March. This tournament will feature the best of Australia’s boxers from all states and territories over 3 jam-packed days.
A number of local tournaments throughout the year will enable both the novice boxer and more prominent representatives to gain invaluable experience and conditioning for other national tournaments like the Arafura Games (Darwin), Oceania Games (Samoa), World Championships (Russia) and National Championships (Gold Coast), as well as preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
This is indeed one of our busiest years and with so many chances to represent overseas, our boxers need lots of encouragement and financial support to be able to travel away from home and work.
Boxing ACT and individual boxers seek sponsorship and welcome enquires through their office on 02-61019901.or Secretary, Julia Felton on 0411030637.
By Andrew Barr
I welcome the announcement that the 2009 World Mountain Bike and Trials Championships will be held in Canberra.
The event is expected to attract more than 750 of the world’s top mountain bike riders, as well as 30 000 visitors from up to 40 countries and will run from the 1-6 September 2009 at the new Stromlo Forest Park. That the 2009 World Championships will be held in Canberra is great news for the City and the country.
As more than 750 of the world’s top riders compete across the mountain bike disciplines of Cross Country, Downhill, Four Cross, and Observed Trials, the event will be broadcast to an expected television audience of over 25 million people across the world.
This will provide a major boost for tourism, business and the economy and is great recognition of the world class facilities we have to offer in the ACT.
The ACT Government will provide over $1 million to support the 2009 World Mountain Bike and Trials Championships.
Given the stature of this event in the world and the growing popularity of mountain biking in Australia, this is a major opportunity to promote Stromlo Forest Park and Canberra as the number one mountain biking destination in Australia and a hot spot for mountain biking in the world.
The ACT Government joined with Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) and their event partners Apis Consulting Group in their bid for Canberra to host and manage the 2009 World Mountain Bike and Trials Championships and we will invest over $1 million to support the event. This is in addition to the $7.5 million invested in the new facilities at Stromlo Forest Park, with a major component of these facilities focusing on mountain biking.
I look forward to the great sporting feats which will be achieved on the tracks at Stromlo and the recognition our great city will achieve during and in the lead up to the Championships.
BY KIM WELLS
Jennifer Kathleen Phillips doesn’t do things by halves. Now a local, Jennifer Phillips graduated from Massey University, New Zealand, in the top 5% of students with a degree in education and has since taught all ages from preschool to adults in a variety of settings. She is presently an IT teacher at Lake Tuggeranong College and active on a number of committees including the Computer Education Group of the ACT, Australian Government Quality Teaching Program and the Council of ACT Education Associations. In her free time she is vice president of the ACT branch of the Australian Federation of University Women, having just served two terms as president. She has published 5 books and is a poet, webmaster and songwriter as well as an artist.
For Christmas 2003 her husband bought her a copy of Adobe Photoshop and about the same time she was asked if she would paint a picture for Easter. Jennifer says,
“As I had not been making many art works I thought I would do a concept sketch on the computer, so I took photos of a rose and barbed wire and manipulated them using software tools to sharpen the image, stretch and reshape it and add texture. I was so pleased with my work that I had it printed on canvas. The response from people was so positive that it encouraged me to make more digital art works. I discovered some online galleries and digital art communities and began exhibiting my work online as well as offline and have begun selling limited edition prints to a global market!”
Jennifer entered some digital images into the ARTOTEQUE, a real time global art competition held in February 2006 in London and was one of only four exhibitors from Australia awarded prizes.
Encouraged by this success Jennifer held a solo exhibition of works at Belconnen Gallery in August 2006, which was well received by nearly 1000 visitors.
She has since won The People’s Choice at Waniassa Art’s ‘Views in the Hills’ exhibition in 2006 for her image, Loved – never forgotten. Works are currently part of the “Wasteland’ Exhibitio, a project of the MV Network, a federation of regional arts facilities and presenters bonded by the M5 motorway, stretching from the Casula Powerhouse in Western Sydney through Campbelltown and the Southern Tablelands to Canberra and Queanbeyan. The Wasteland exhibition at Belconnen is the first stage in a multi phase project that will see each of the members interpret the Wasteland theme, culminating in a major exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse in 2007
Jennifer’s art will be part of the upcoming exhibition: ‘Affluence’ by the art group Multifocus at the HUW DAVIES GALLERY situated in the Manuka Arts Centre, corner of NSW Crescent and Manuka Circle, Griffith (presented by Photoaccess). The exhibition continues until 20 February. Gallery hours are 11am to 5pm (closed Monday). Phone 6295 7810.
Recently Jennifer has established an online sales site where her prints can be viewed and purchased at www.phillips-prints.com
Jennifer has created several educational aids including easy website development and animation and a series of reading activity packs that contain interactive computer reading games to help young children learn to read. Activity Pack 1 – which contains animated reading activities and printable worksheets to help a child develop early reading skills – is now available at www.phillips-prints.com
Jennifer is also working on a children’s storybook that will be illustrated with digital art.
Tom Woodward began performing at the age of fourteen, at the now defunct Gypsy Bar. They were a considerate enough venue to have an underages night, called melodic minors, every Tuesday evening. Tom played an electric guitar, had frizzy bleach blonde hair and a baby face, his voice still unbroken. Usually one or two people sat in the audience sipping lemonade, curious to see what the baby face with the girly voice had to say. A few years later, his voice had dropped three octaves and he had well and truly lost the baby face. In those days people sat in the crowd sipping wine (instead of lemonade), wondering whether they had just stepped through a vortex into Greenwich Village, circa 1961. “Is that a young Bob Dylan?” They briefly stopped to think, in between chardonnay.
Tom Woodward is now adamant that he is not trying to be Bob Dylan. He hopes and prays that his debut studio album, Blue Day Requiem, will help assuage the five year flow of such comparisons. But as much as Woodward says he is tired of the comparison, he accepts that he did ask for it. “Bob Dylan was a huge influence on me when I was fifteen. Almost overnight I went from trying to be Kurt Cobain to imitating Bob Dylan. Basically, one week I was in the Gypsy Bar with a distortion pedal and a heavy metal drummer behind me, and the next I was opening shows for David Branson at the Currong Theatre, with an acoustic guitar and ten minute songs dedicated to the age-old themes of existential angst and social justice.” If that were not enough, at 18 Tom billed at the National Folk Festival where he entered himself into the “Inspired Bob Dylan Song Competition”. An electrifying and overtly Dylanesque version of Girl of the North Country won him third place, and of course more (sometimes derogatory) Bob Dylan comparisons.
By 2005, he had almost stopped playing music altogether. “I moved to Melbourne and decided to try my luck at writing. This time I wanted to be George Orwell.” For a year and a half Tom bummed around between Melbourne and Canberra, playing music occasionally, but spending most of his time locked away, writing like a demon.
In mid 2006, having struggled on the same book for nearly two years, Tom “was depressed. I had no money, no future; no reason to stick around really. I basically just decided to quit writing, quit everything, move out to the country and work on a farm.” For three months he picked peaches on a small farm north-west of Sydney, isolated from the trappings of his old life. “Basically I saved money, and that was a novel thing for me, because I’ve never had any money.” When he returned to Canberra, the first thing he did was record the songs he had written on the farm. “I no longer felt the need to try and imitate anybody else. The new songs felt the most honest I’d ever written, and I had some of the best musicians in the country willing to put down tracks for me.” After an intensive period of writing, mixing and arranging, Tom sent the recordings off to be mastered by Don Bartley, one of Australia’s most prominent masterers.
The final product is Blue Day Requiem, an eleven song journey into the mind of a man unafraid to turn over every psychological leaf; a deeply moving discovery of the limits and capabilities of ones own existence. “I am really happy with this album,” he says. “I think it’s the first thing I’ve done I can really be proud of.”
And in a career spanning eight years, it seems the Cobain turned Dylan turned Orwell imitator, is quite happy to just be who he is: a songwriter named Tom Woodward.
Tom Woodward will be performing at the National Folk Festival where he will be officially kick off his Blue Day Requiem National Tour. To order you copy of Blue Day Requiem,
email email@example.com or phone 0401594865
BY SANDRA HILL
I was commissioned to do this artwork in 2004, collaborating with Ngunnawal artist Jim Williams and non-Indigenous ceramic artist Jenny Dawson. I was responsible for all design, utilizing a few of Jim’s drawings and fortunately was able to use the stainless steel silos already onsite. The mosaic was made at the J Shed Ceramic Art Studio in Fremantle, Perth.
Jenny Dawson and I have been working together on public art projects for the past ten years. The mosaic was made from wet clay, rolled on the slab. The design was transferred onto the clay and cut to the grid. Each clay tile was numbered to this grid and fits together like a jigsaw. While the tiles were still wet, the imagery was etched into the clay. The tiles were then dried, cleaned, hand-glazed and fired in the kiln at stoneware temperatures.
Tony Pankiw, a prominent metal artist from Perth, made the steel components that cover the silos. Large silk screens translated the designs to scale. These were then chemically printed onto the steel, which was then acid etched onto the metal plates. The plates were dissected using a plasma cutter and then electro plated. Once this process was completed, printing ink was rubbed into the low areas to produce the colour. The steel art work has been sealed with an epoxy anti-graffiti coating and will not deteriorate over time. Some of the panels are of rusted steel but these get better over time, like the copper of the Molonglo River.
It was a privilege to work on this project, being a Ngoongar from W.A. it is significant that another tribe invested in me and trusted me to express their culture and traditions. They trusted me to tell their story visually, in an appropriate and acceptable manner to all of the community and this is highly unusual for indigenous groups. It was an extraordinary experience to be accepted in this way by the Ngunnawal people and I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Matilda House, Jim Williams and members of the local Indigenous community for this honour. My thanks also go to ArtsACT and the Chief Minister’s office for their ongoing support.
“Reclamation; Culture, Spirit and Place”.
Reclamation acknowledges the traditional owners of this place, the Ngunnawal people. The two steel plinths feature imagery that incorporates and reflects the rich cultural history and traditions of the original custodians of the Molonglo River, it’s waterways and tribal lands.
The four panels reference the many facets of Ngunnawal culture and heritage. Some of the animals represented are; the Eagle, totem animal of the Ngunnawal people, the Crow, Owl, Black Cockatoo, Goanna, Frog and the Crane. The Bogong Moth holds a significant place in the Ngunnawal traditions as an important food source.
The original path of the Molonglo River and the ancient rock paintings from the ‘Yankee Hat’ rock shelters in the Namadji National Park are featured in one of the panels. The animals represented are; the Dingo, Kangaroo, Echidna and Koala, all are important food sources for the local people.
The mosaic reflects past, present and future. The figures participate in a dance, representing cultural traditions of the past. The two arcs signify coolamons or ‘holding vessels’. One represents the maintenance of Ngunnawal culture, the keeping of the record and the strong and ongoing connection to their lands. The strips represent the Ngunnawal people; moving forward into the future, tall, strong and proud. The coloured tiles represent the natural environment; the land, the sea, the heavens, the earth and the blood of the people. The ‘campfire’ symbol represents home, family and community.
The artwork celebrates the survival of the spirit, the courage and the dignity shown by the Ngunnawal people, as they move forward into the future.
Principal Artist: Sandra Hill (Nyoongar)
Collaborative Artist: Jim Williams (Ngunnawal).
Ceramic Artist: Jenny Dawson
Metal Artist: Tony Pankiw
By Bernadette Blueday
At 8am nine people wait, lucky I am here early. The place is dead quiet.
No one at the desk yet.
Mobile phones must be off in the dentist’s surgery, that’s a problem because I don’t know how to switch mine off! And when I do, noone can ring me.
Deadly quiet, I wonder if they all have a toothache. I’m afraid of the dentist. Nice and warm in here anyway, I would like a drink, I can see some in a display cabinet – Coke and juice at one end. Healthy things like fruit, bread and water in the other end to emphasise to us what to eat for the good of our teeth.
TV is up high in the corner, mercifully it’s switched off. Four notices are stuck prominently around the walls…”Have your say about our service”.
This is an invitation to put comments on the reception desk downstairs. What can I say about this place? I wouldn’t know, I’ve had no service yet. I feel sick, probably because to get here so early I skipped breakfast.
I hear some bumps behind the screen of the reception area, but the screen doesn’t move. It is just 8.05 now, thirteen people wait including one child. I wonder if they voted for Labor or Liberal or if any of them could have made any difference to the Dental Health System. Payment is $25 but that’s only for the first tooth treated. A phone is ringing in vein, no one answers it. The screens go up and a lady with a child talks to the receptionist who tells her that children are not allowed in for emergency treatment. The mother says she rang twice yesterday and ‘they’ told her to bring in the child. I didn’t hear what the receptionist replied but the woman reluctantly went away. I hear the receptionist say to one man, “Did someone hit you in the face?” I glance at the man with a swollen face who is now looking very confused. Why would he come here if he didn’t have a dental problem? We are asked to fill in a form to describe how bad our pain is…. PAIN …..Very severe, moderate or bearable. Forms are confusing especially if you forgot to bring your glasses, like me. I wonder how long I will have to wait? Do I have a dental problem? If not, I’ll have to go on a six month waiting list. Everyone has to pay before they see the dentist. They sort you out quick, if you have a swollen face, they ask if someone hit you? I heard this several times. It points to the fact that they don’t trust people to have a ‘real’ dental problem. It is now over an hour since I came in. I’m feeling nauseas. I had no breakfast, just coffee. It’s very hot in here. There are now over twenty people waiting. I stare at Bugs Bunny on the wall, it says….Make a date with your dental therapist. How? Bribe him with some carrots? It’s 9.30, I have been here one and a half hours. Could be another couple of hours before I’m seen by a dentist.
I’ve paid my money, filled in forms for my medical history. I feel sick. I go to the bubbler, which is outside down the corridor to take a pain killer. There is no glass there and the bubbler doesn’t work. I go to the basin in the toilet and lapped out of cupped hands. I start thinking, if you had a bad toothache how could you prove it? I feel sorry for you. I go to the children’s waiting room around the corner, might be a bit cooler there, maybe a bit of fresh air. I feel like going home but then I think it may not be much longer to wait.
One of the dentists comes out and goes to the toilet. he doesn’t come out of the toilet all the while I’m there… what happened to him? He has been in there for 30 minutes at least.
My face is very hot and my tooth hurts, wish I could get some outside fresh air but I can’t go outside in case they call my name. I will miss out. They can’t give me any indication when my turn will come up.
It is close to 2.00pm when my name is called, I am the last one left in the waiting room from those who were there at 8.00am. Next time I will bring MY BED and some WATER! For my $25 I get a rough dentist who takes a long time to pull out a double tooth. They don’t fill old people’s teeth any more, they pull them out…IF THEY DON’T FALL OUT BEFORE THEY CAN GET TO SEE A DENTIST!!
BY Tess Graham
Every time John stopped breathing during the night, Bronwyn would lay awake wondering if this was the big one. After 2 years of sleep disrupted by loud snoring and sleep apnoeas Bronwyn eventually moved to sleep in a separate room. Even so, John’s snoring was so loud it could be heard through two closed doors and the sleep apnoea episodes were increasing. To make matters worse, John would suffer from drowsiness during the day and was often fighting to stay awake at work. Eventually, Bronwyn insisted that he visit the doctor.
John’s doctor confirmed that he was suffering from sleep apnoea. Surgery or a machine to help him breathe were the more radical options to help control his condition. However, there was a natural method that could help him by addressing the root cause of his troubles: – the way he was breathing.
Snoring is disturbed breathing, in fact ‘over-breathing’. It causes a loss of carbon dioxide from the lungs. Carbon dioxide is very important for normal bodily functioning; it is logical to assume that the body must have some way to prevent losing it. In a person with sleep apnoea, this defence mechanism activates to stop you breathing when the carbon dioxide level declines too much. Another mechanism by which snoring can lead to apnoea, is when the excessive volume of air passing the swollen tissues of the throat, sucks the airway shut temporarily.
The Buteyko breathing method works by helping patients regain control of their breathing volume and restoring normal levels of carbon dioxide. Practising Buteyko, John put an end to his disrupted sleep for good and regained control of his health and his marriage!
Do you snore or suffer from sleep apnoea? Do you experience restlessness, excessive movement while asleep? Do you wake up groggy, un-refreshed or get drowsy during the day? Left unchecked these symptoms could lead to more serious health problems. Take control of your health and address your sleeping problems now. Buteyko Health Solution is a physiotherapy clinic specialising in breathing related problems in adults and children. Come and find out how we can help you.
Contact Tess Graham, physiotherapist on 62325222
Jackson West, the third of four sons, is a young Canberra man who was born on the 1/1/1986. Jackson has an extra terminal band on the long arm of the 22nd chromosome which doesn’t really mean anything. What is meaningful for him and for us, his family, is how it manifests. He is classified as having a profound intellectual disability with autism.
Jackson is a young man with the potential for a great future. He is a thrill seeker, a music lover and a car enthusiast; he has enormous stamina and perseverance, rides pillion on a 750cc BMW motorbike and enjoys bush walking and boiling a billy. He also happens to have very high support needs; he needs one-on-one supervision and assistance all his waking hours. Without caring people with vision to support him to lead a good life, the typical future he can look forward to is one diminished in real and valuable roles and adventures.
Jackson graduated from Black Mountain School at the end of 2006 and in this new stage of his life, post-school, he has much to offer. However, we live in a society that often refuses to acknowledge the contribution he can make; a society which does not, to any large extent, value or respect people like Jackson. He is seen as ‘other’, a lesser kind of human who can contribute little and is not entitled to the support he needs for his life to be rich in people and experiences.
We, Jackson’s parents, think otherwise. We have established a courier business, JACKmail, created to employ Jackson part-time and designed around his skills and loves. JACKmail will collect mail from Post Office boxes and deliver it to businesses. It will collect any out-going mail and take it to the post office to be posted. “One-off” deliveries such as tender documents or small parcels can also be accommodated. A support worker will drive the JACKmail van and support and guide Jackson as he makes deliveries.
JACKmail will give Jackson the opportunity to:
. be employed
. contribute to his community
. meet many small business owners, operators, employees and customers
. have a busy, active and interesting life
. earn money
. be a positive example to others
. be an ambassador for other people with a disability
If you would like to engage JACKmail to pick-up and deliver your mail, phone 02 62810974 (office),
0421 455 913 (mobile) or email firstname.lastname@example.org To find out more about Jackson
By Neil Primrose
The dynamics of decision-making in this town are changing. Canberra is now an international city with export-led growth and a new ethos. 2007 will see an acceleration of change in roles and perspectives.
The ACT Government is realising that it can’t do everything that is needed to meet the aspirations of the Canberra community. The business community is realising that it has the potential and the responsibly to work in partnership with the Government and the wider community to grow this economy.
The wider community is realising that Canberra is too small a market to uphold their aspirations. Complacency about growth, including population growth is no longer an option.
There is a gradual dawning of awareness that the complex of jurisdictional boundaries in the Capital Region are a significant burden on the economic and social health of the region – not to mention its development in competition with other regional growth centres.
The formal establishment of the various jurisdictions won’t change any time soon. However, we are seeing new partnerships between the business community and governments to develop the Capital Region as a national economic growth centre in support its the social and cultural richness.
The Action Agenda, “Eyes on the Future” of the Canberra Business Council and its kindred organisations right across the business community, is already producing results.
. A Regional Ministerial Council has been established to work on common prospects between the Federal and ACT Governments and the business community
. The business community has shared the cost of the ACT Government’s “Live in Canberra” campaigns
. Representation and involvement on the new ACT Skills Commission
. The full value of the education sector to the Capital Region is being researched and assessed.
. Discussions are starting between public servants and business leaders to grow awareness in government about how business works and what is needed for effective partnership.
. The business community is working on a number of alternatives for public-private partnerships to construct of a new convention centre.
. The Federal and Act Governments and the business community are extending export promotion to India, on the basis of promising growth in trade with China and Singapore.
Dr. Neil Primrose chairs the Action Agenda Co-ordination Group of the Canberra Business Council.
Over 60 community and business leaders attended a breakfast function on February 1 to hear about the important work being done by The Salvation Army in Tuggeranong and how others can get involved. The meeting highlighted important community needs in areas of youth services and aged care, especially plans for expanding the buildings and facilities.
“The Tuggeranong Community Leaders breakfast is an important avenue for The Salvation Army to stay in tune with the needs of our community,” Major David Terracini said. “It is also a great way of keeping the awareness out there of what we do, whilst also supporting people in our community in the various leadership roles that they hold. We recognise the influence and impact that these leaders have and greatly appreciate their continued support.”
Federal Member for Canberra, Annette Ellis MP, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves; Jeff Whalan, Head of Centrelink and Rosemary Lissimore of Tuggeranong Community Council were among the guests at the breakfast.
The breakfast provided an opportunity to launch Faith ‘007 – a special program being run during February and March to provide an avenue for people who are looking for contemporary and practical ways of exploring faith issues, or simply needing support in dealing with daily issues. Other activities planned for the year include:
. The Zymodic Dance Party on the first Saturday of each month, which attracts over 300 young people (aged 12-16) to a clean, safe, drug and alcohol-free environment; . Mainly Music – a weekly activity program for preschool children and their parents; . Youth programs – Sagala youth clubs (including guides and rangers); . Community Services – community support and welfare, including Tuggeranong based client services and support to participants in drug and alcohol recovery programs; . Carols by Candelight, Tuggeranong Town Park – in conjunction with Harvest Christian Fellowship and other community partners the 2006 Carols in Town Park attracted around 2000 local people; . Regular Sunday morning worship service in Tuggeranong attended by over 200 people.
For further information about the wide range of support services provided by Salvation Army Tuggeranong and how you can get involved, please phone 6293 3262.
New Year celebrations may be overr for many, but for the Chinese and much of the Asian Community who use the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year has yet to come. From year to year it varies from between mid January to mid February; this year it is on the 18th of February.
Chinese New Year celebrations are well known for their loud fire crackers and abundance of delicious food. The festivities, which go for a whole 15 days, bring together families and friends as they celebrate their culture and traditions, wherever they are in the world. Traditionally, many Chinese would wear new clothes to symbolize a new beginning, and enjoy dumplings together – a common sight on the New Year’s Eve dinner table.
The Chinese New Year festival dates back to the time of the first Emperor in China. It was a celebration of survival from a mythical beast called ‘nian’ (year), that would raid villages at the end of each year. Many people died in battles against this beast. Over time, villagers discovered that it feared two things: one was the colour bright red, and the other, very loud noises. This led to the tradition of fire crackers and bright red colours at Chinese New Year celebrations.
2007 is the Year of Pig, the last of a twelve year cycle. It is said that people born in the Year of Pig are more likely to be diplomatic, humble, honest and trustworthy. It is also a good year to get married, as the Year of Pig can mean a year of domestic harmony and happiness.
China’s New Renaissance
From one perspective, the upcoming show Chinese New Year Spectacular is representative of China’s New Renaissance, a growing trend in the past few years – a new attempt to restore traditional Chinese culture and values that were destroyed in mainland China during the Communist Party’s Cultural Revolution in the mid 1960’s to 70’s. This destruction also influenced overseas Chinese communities.
In mainland China over the past few years there has been a growing number of new private schools, especially set up to teach classic Chinese works and traditional culture and values. The growing new trend of traditional type private schools is in many ways counter to the contemporary trend of modernization.
While the Chinese New Year is a happy and joyous time and there is surely much to talk about in terms of China’s phenomenal economic growth and the Chinese people’s great achievements, that China now harbors an increasingly alarming gap between the wealthy and the poor should not be forgotten. Many experts have commented that the unfair distribution of wealth from economic development due to corruption and abuse of power is becoming a serious threat to stability for the Chinese society. The currently ruling Chinese Communist Party has not been able to deal with these problems for various reasons.
Each year, thousands and thousands of petitioners appeal to Chinese governmental authorities for justice. But they are often forced to return to their homes without any change. Many went on for petitioning for years. In 2005 there were some 3700 mass protests or riots involving more than 3 million unsatisfied citizens. The number is likely to be much higher in 2006. It has been commented that many westerners are invited to see the shiny surface of economic growth in contemporary China, at the expense of the increasing calls for freedom, justice and humanity.
Everyday in Canberra Falun Gong practitioners protest silently outside the Chinese Embassy. They have been doing this since 1999, when the tragic persecution of Falun Gong was first initiated in mainland China. The persistence of these individuals touches the hearts of many Canberrans and they do not look like they are going away any time soon.
The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are going to put China under the international microscope. While the games may bring China fiscal fortunes, China may be ‘encouraged’ to comply with the principles of the Games, being democracy, fairness, justice, and freedoms of speech and belief.
Chinese in Canberra
It is not known to the author who the first Chinese settler in Canberra was. However, by the 1950’s there was already a small Chinese community, mainly involved in farming. By late 1970’s there were more than one hundred Chinese living in the capital. The 80’s saw a growing number of Chinese students studying here, initially as Master’s and Ph.D students, and then later as English-language students as well.
When the Chinese Communist Party’s army tanks crushed the pro-democracy movement in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, there were from 2000 to 3000 Chinese, including students, in Canberra. By 1997 the Chinese population here was about 4000. Since then we have seen a significant increase of Chinese living and working in Canberra. Today it is estimated that there are some 10 000 Chinese in Canberra.
Unlike the early Chinese settlers who often ran family-based restaurants, many Chinese here now work in the government, at universities, or at either public or private research and professional institutions. One rapid growth area is in IT, with many Chinese-run computer stores and consultancy personnel. Traditional Chinese medicine is now also more readily accessible, with the opening of a traditional Chinese medicine centre in Woden and Belconnen four years ago.
Because of Canberra’s unique environment, in the past seven years a rapidly growing number of school students came from China to study here. The first Chinese school student came in 1999. Now there are more than 300, with more to come. “Many Chinese students are excellent,” says Sandra Woolacott of ACT Education Department.
According to Tourism Australia, over 280 000 Chinese visited Australia in 2005, among which more than 20 000 came to Canberra.
Canberra’s “China Town”
Dickson’s Woolley Street is considered by many as Canberra’s China Town, which includes an array of restaurants, not only Chinese. But the first Chinese Restaurant, Happy’s Chinese Restaurant, was opened in Garema Place in the city in 1955. Dickson’s first Chinese Restaurant, Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, did not open until 1967, and closed in 1985.
Dickson’s Chinese businesses didn’t really kick off until the early 1980’s, when Ruby Chinese Restaurant, New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant, and a herb store and computer store opened in the same decade. A Dickson Arcade is currently being renovated to include three new restaurants (Italian, Indian and Chinese), as well as a traditional Chinese massage centre.
Canberra Youth Association
A new Canberra Youth Association is being established by a number of enthusiasts who are willing to devote their time and energy to help young people grow in a healthy way by learning something positive and valuable, and also to explore the world. Although started by a number of Chinese and Australians interested in Chinese, the association is open to all youth in Canberra. The first classes on offer are for Chinese martial arts and cookery. It may soon expand to travel and other areas.
Chinese New Year Spectacular
An authentic celebration of the Chinese New Year in Canberra this year is available to everyone, thanks to the Asian Culture Association’s (ACA) hosting the Chinese New Year Spectacular at the Canberra Theatre in March. The Spectacular is produced and presented by the New York based Chinese language television network New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV).
At shopping centres and markets over the past few weeks it has been hard to miss a group of heavenly-looking Chinese ladies and angelic girls in their bright, colourful traditional Chinese costumes. They are ACA volunteers, busy promoting the Spectacular, which has come to Canberra for the first time.
Since the show first started in New York four years ago, the Spectacular has been a tremendous success. In 2007 the NTDTV team is touring the world from January to March for 75 shows in 29 cities, including 10 shows in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
From the 3rd to mid January the Spectacular toured four Canadian cities for ten sold-out shows, dazzling an audience of nearly 19,000. “Usually we hear about song and dance multiculturalism, but it’s usually not very deep and very profound,” said distinguished Canadian author, poet, and professor Cyril Dabydeer after watching the show in Ottawa. “But tonight it was the most extraordinary cultural show I’ve ever seen and experienced.”
The show was rated top 7th in the US in February 2006 by Billboard magazine. The Spectacular has become a popular new tradition for the Chinese New Year celebration overseas. It includes graceful dances, exquisite and soulful music, as well as wonderful staging and costumes. These incredible performances showcase 5000 years of Chinese culture, of the Divine Land, for a spectacular and unforgettable feast of music, dance and entertainment.
“We have a magnificent show. When you see the pictures, they catch your eyes. When you listen to the music, it stays in your ears. When you watch the show, it touches your heart.” says, Dr Songfa Liu, vice-president of Asian Culture Association (ACA).
Due to popular demand, there will be an extra show on Tuesday 20th of March in addition to a night show and a matinee for schools on the 21st of March. See advertisement sponsored by The Word.
Easter’s nearly on us –
A well-earned break for most.
Like half the folk of Canberra I’ll be heading for the coast.
The weekend should be fun –
A fillip for the soul,
But Tuesday we’ll be reading of the National Road Toll.
It sounds a trifle grim –
I hope that I’m wrong too,
But if you are the driver then it’s really up to you!
Two hours to Bateman’s Bay,
But please, for heaven’s sake,
It’s better to take three than try that risky overtake!
Just listen to a tape,
Enjoy the countryside,
And if you get there two hours late there should still be a tide.
I just don’t get ‘road rage’ –
It does no good, just harm –
I’d rather take the smart approach, the one I call ‘road calm’.
Oh, let the “doof-doof” in,
It’s clear he cannot drive,
But with a helpful attitude we’ll all remain alive.
So if the traffic’s slow,
Don’t let yourself get tense,
Just tolerate the idiots and drive with common sense.
So have a Good Friday
And think of what I’ve said .
‘Cause there is just one bloke I know who got up from the dead!
© Neil Dunn, 29/3/99.
Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister
I welcome the Report on Government Services (ROGS), released recently by the Productivity Commission, showing ACT Government services continue to be among the best in the country. I am pleased with the ACT’s performance in the report but note useful benchmarks for future improvement.
The Report on Government Services 2007 is an annual comparison of services provided by Australia’s State and Territory Governments.
The ACT’s performance in many crucial areas leads the nation. In particular, our community enjoys access to excellence in public school educational outcomes; we continue to enjoy the best health and highest longevity rates, and our police and emergency services lead the nation in many performance measures.
It should be noted that the information contained in the report pre-dates the ACT Government’s recent budget reforms and initiatives, which aim to bring the costs associated with many government services back into line with other jurisdictions, without compromising service standards.
The report reinforces what we in the ACT have long prided ourselves on – our first-class education system. We have the best public education system in Australia, and with the recent announcement of a $90 million injection into our schools, we are determined to ensure that our public schools are the first choice for a quality education.
The report shows that in 2005 the ACT had the highest Year 12 completion rate of any jurisdiction by far at 80% compared to a national average of 67%.
Literacy benchmarks also exceed national averages for ACT students in Years 3,5 and 7. In addition, numeracy measures in 2004 showed levels of performance for ACT students above the national average.
The ACT has the highest apparent retention rate of full time students from years 10-12 at 88.1% compared to 76.5% nationally, with retention rate for Indigenous full-time students from years 10-12 at 66.1% compared to 45.3% nationally. The retention rate for government schools in the ACT is much higher than for non-government schools, at 99.5% compared to 74.5%.
The ROGS shows that expenditure on students in government schools is above the national average. The ACT Government is addressing this issue through recent budget initiatives and the Towards 2020 program. Recent reforms to the public education system are aimed at ensuring sustainability in public schools and improving learning and teaching environments in our schools.
The ACT has more police officers on the beat than any other jurisdiction, with the report showing the ACT has 85.6% of operational police officers, well above the national average of 82.6%. In addition, community perceptions of safety remain relatively high and are generally above the national average. Perceptions of safety on our public transport after dark are also significantly higher than any other jurisdiction.
The ACT has the lowest imprisonment rate of any jurisdiction at 76 adults per 1,000. The national average is 156. The ACT also has the lowest rate of Indigenous imprisonment at 545 per 1,000 adults.
The report shows that the ACT has a relatively high cost per capita for corrective services. However it is expected that the commissioning of the ACT’s new prison will result in a reduction in the recurrent cost per prisoner per day.
Performance of our court system is in line with the achievements of other states, although improvements can be made in reducing case backlog. In is anticipated that the introduction of the new Court Procedures Rules in the Supreme Court and Magistrates Courts will further enhance case management. The ACT shows superior performance by the Magistrates Court over the last five years, having cleared more than 100% of cases in each year, thereby reducing the backlog of cases. The cost per finalisation continues to decline for criminal matters, with the Supreme Court less than most jurisdictions.
I am proud of the ACT Fire Brigade’s response times which are the best in the country, with containment of fire to the room of origin at 82%, also the best response in the country.
The ACT health system also performed well in comparison to other jurisdictions in many key areas.
Life expectancy at birth for the ACT has increased steadily and Canberrans continue to outlive their counterparts in all other jurisdictions with the highest average life expectancy of 79.7 for males and 83.9 for females. This is not only higher than the Australian average, but is amongst the highest in the world.
The ACT’s hospitals continued to record excellent results for relative stays in hospital for patients, with a decrease from 1.04 days to 1.01 days.
The ACT Government continues to work towards cutting the waiting times in the emergency department and for elective surgery. The Government has invested significantly in reducing elective surgery waiting lists and results show that more patients were admitted for elective surgery in 2004-05 (8.617) than in 2003-04 (8.547). This figure is increasing year-on-year with 9,076 patients receiving elective surgery in 2005-06.
The ACT Government is also working to reduce ACT public hospital costs and in line with the 2006-07 Budget is implementing a strategy to bring costs to within 10% of the average cost of similar facilities in Australia by 2009-10.
The ACT also performed well in a number of significant areas of aged care provision.
The number of Aged Care Assessments (ACAT) per 1000 people over 70 was the highest in the ACT at 121.4 against a national average of 88.1 and the ACT has the highest number of community aged care packages, with 20.2 per 1000 people over 70, compared to the national average of 18.2.
In the area of aged accommodation, the ACT Government is committed to bringing operational care places on line as quickly as possible after the Commonwealth Government allocates the care places. We expect to see a steady increase in performance over time in this area, with the recent completion of a planning framework for the number of residential places required for the next 20 years and identification of land for future aged care accommodation.
The report shows that, despite being a small jurisdiction, services provided by the ACT Government compare extremely favourably in comparison to other States and the Northern Territory.
This is a great opportunity not only to recognise what we are doing well, but to identify those areas where there is still room for improvement.