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Education Boost for Brindabella


Education has received a huge boost in the 2007-08 Budget, with record levels of funding and capital investment provided for every ACT public school.

From July 2006 to June 2011, more than $350 million will be invested in the infrastructure of ACT public schools, which will ensure that ACT students have access to consistently high-quality learning environments.

Tuggeranong students will benefit from a new, state of the art P-10 school, with an additional $50 million allocated in the Budget for the design and construction of the school. To be built on the site of the current Kambah High School, the new building will provide flexible, modern, high-quality and environmentally sustainable educational facilities to the Tuggeranong community.

“The new P-10 school will provide students and teachers with a high-quality learning environment,” Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald said, “It is another example of the Government’s commitment to giving all Canberrans the opportunity to have the best possible start in education.”

The preschool at the new school will be closely linked to the primary school to form an early childhood school integrated within the school complex and the Canberra Institute of Technology’s involvement with the new school will also be examined. It is expected to open in 2011.

Under the capital investment, significant improvements will also be made at a number of schools including Calwell High School and four new P-2 early childhood schools will be created at Isabella Plains, Narrabundah, Lyons and Southern Cross Primary School.

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector has also received a boost with an extra $6.2 million allocated over four years. “This funding will continue to ensure that VET remains strong in the ACT and the community is provided with the opportunity to undertake nationally recognised training courses.”

ACT Budget delivers for Brindabella


Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald MLA has welcomed the handing down of the 2007-2008 ACT Government Budget, stating it is a budget for the future that supports our growing city, community and economy in practical ways.

The Budget delivers an operating surplus of $103 million in 2007-2008 and provides funding for the second largest capital work and upgrade program since self-government.

“The 2007-08 Budget really is a budget for everyone. It puts in place a number of initiatives and programs that will be ongoing and benefit the community well into the future,” Ms MacDonald said.

“Many initiatives of the Budget will benefit all Canberrans, such as new education, health, environment and capital work programs, however there are a number of Brindabella specific funding allocations. Some of these include:

. $50 million in additional funding for the design and construction of a new P-10 school in Tuggeranong. To be built on the site of the current Kambah High School, the preschool will be closely linked to the primary school to form an early childhood school integrated within the school complex. The school will be constructed with a commitment to environmental sustainability and is expected to open in 2011. Canberra Institute of Technology’s involvement with the new school will also be examined.

. $4 million to upgrade the Lakeside Leisure Centre in Tuggeranong, with work to include retiling the 50-metre pool and the reconstruction of the heating/ventilation/air conditioning system and the roof/ceiling structure. The Centre will also be painted inside and out.

. $9.5 million to build the new Tharwa Bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at Tharwa. The bridge will be single-lane, with a bike and pedestrian lane and will provide safer access for residents and essential services such as fire and ambulance.

. $2.8 million to upgrade and improve playgrounds and parks across the Territory. The playground at Eddison Park in Woden will be expanded, a new exercise track will be built and the pond area will also receive a facelift. Playgrounds in Chifley, Wanniassa, Gowrie, Fadden Pines, and Gilmore will all be upgraded and work will also take place at the Kambah District Park and the Point Hut Pond District Park. Two Liberty swings, which enable people with a disability to experience the sensation of swinging, will also be installed in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin.

. $3.4 million to duplicate Athllon Drive from the Anketell Street south roundabout to connect with the existing duplication adjacent to the Australian Archives Repository. The project will also include the upgrade of the Athllon Drive and Barr Smith Avenue intersection and the Scollay Street, Pine Island Road and Estate Road intersection. These works will result in better traffic access for the proposed residential development in Bonython West.

. An additional $2.6 million over four years for the new Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Centre. The 30-hectare Centre is expected to open in early 2008 and will provide unique outdoor and environmental education experiences for Canberrans and visitors. The funding will assist in the delivery of visitor and educational programs, wildlife collection management and more intensive land management. It will also help to provide a stronger educational emphasis on indigenous history and cultural associations with the region.

. $130,000 to develop walking trails at Mt Taylor and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. A new track will be built on Mt Taylor to replace the closed Richmond Fellowship Walking Track and will conform to best practise in terms of grade, surface and water diversion. New tracks will also be developed in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

. $300,000 to develop two recreation areas devoted to dogs and their owners in Tuggeranong and Belconnen. One ‘Dogs’ Park’ will be established at Lake Tuggeranong and another at Lake Ginninderra. The parks will provide the opportunity for dogs to socialise and exercise off-lead.

. More than $700,000 to maintain and upgrade several art facilities in Canberra including the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. The well-used facility will receive new signage and the floor will be resurfaced.

. $1.9 million to expand the Junction Youth Health Service in Civic and provide for better youth health services in Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin.

. $50,000 to build a jetty on Lake Tuggeranong for Sailability ACT. Sailability ACT plays an important role in the community, particularly for community members who have a disability. Half their members have a disability and they provide these members with the opportunity to experience the excitement of sailing. The construction of a jetty will greatly assist members to access the boats and also reduce the stress and pressure placed on volunteers.

“The Government has identified the key areas of need in our community and has addressed these areas through significant capital work programs and upgrades and additional support programs and services,” Ms MacDonald said. “I am pleased that Brindabella has received significant funding in this year’s Budget and congratulate the Treasurer Jon Stanhope on his second Budget.”

Mediterranean World Music Workshops and Concert


Musician at work
Sat 16 June & Sun 17 June
Ainslie Arts Centre, Elouera St Braddon

Captain Corelli’s Songbook: vocal workshop with Parissa Bouas
Explore the captivating songs of the Greek Ionian Islands
Darrabuka Drumming: drumming workshop with Ilias Ellis
Try your hand at exotic rhythms from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt
Gypsy band music: clarinet & saxophone workshops with Linsey Pollak
Discover this exciting style of traditional Macedonian music
Music For Everyone presents a wonderful weekend of world music-making on 16 & 17 June, exploring the music of the Mediterranean. Three different workshops with outstanding visiting musicians offer opportunities for everyone to make music, in workshops for adults and youth on clarinet and saxophone, singing and drumming. This fun-filled weekend of music will be the first major community event to be held in the repaired and soon to be re-opened Ainslie Arts Centre, closed down by hail damage since the super-cell storm of 27 February.
Award winning singer PARISSA BOUAS from the band The Hottentots will visit Canberra to lead her latest vocal workshop “Captain Corelli’s Songbook”. Anyone who loves to sing will enjoy this journey through the traditional songs of the Greek Ionian Islands, sourced directly by Parissa from her visits to the islands that featured in the well known book and movie. These islands in the Ionian Sea have a secret – hundreds of years of Venetian rule left a musical legacy with a strong Italian influence not heard in other parts of Greece. Parissa will share these unique songs and her own family’s musical heritage for the first time in Australia at this workshop.
This vocal workshop is for adults and youth from 16 years, no previous experience necessary except a love of singing! The sessions will also include voice warm-ups and exercises – Parissa has many tools in her kit for developing and maintaining safe and strong singing, encouraging people to free their voice and express a range of sounds.
Renowned world music performer and workshop leader ILIAS ELLIS will lead an exciting weekend workshop in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean drumming. The Darrabuka Drumming workshop with Ilias is open to adults and youth from 12 years, with no previous experience required. There’s also a separate children’s workshop of fun drumming & percussion activities just for kids aged 7-11yrs.
The main drum used will be the darrabuka, the versatile and compact drum used throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and Music For Everyone will have drums available for hire at the workshop, or you can bring your own if you have one! This will be great workshop not only for beginners, but also for those with some drumming experience, from elementary to advanced, who are interested in the rhythms, styles and techniques of Middle Eastern drumming.
LINSEY POLLAK returns to Canberra for his special workshop in Gypsy Band music, for adults and youth who play saxophone or clarinet. Linsey is well known to Canberrans for his performances of his one man instrument-making shows at the Folk Festival, and his Gypsy Band Workshops have been a recent highlight of that festival and also at Womadelaide.
Participants in Linsey’s workshop will learn how to play and improvise in this exciting style of traditional music with one of Australia’s most creative musicians. This workshop is ideal for adults and youth who already play clarinet or sax, from an intermediate through to more advanced level, with no previous folk music or improvising experience required, although experienced folk musicians are welcome to join too. For people who already play in a band or just want to explore some really different and addictive music, Linsey’s workshop will be an inspirational experience.
At this three-workshop weekend, participants will also get the chance to combine and work on some special music together. The three workshops for singers, drummers and clarinet and saxophone players will culminate in a fun finale concert of Mediterranean music on Sunday 17 June at 4pm, with the first performance of music specially written by Linsey just for this event.
Bookings are essential for all workshops: visit www.mfe.org.au for details of session times, costs and booking form. And book by Monday 4 June for special earlybird discount prices.

Event summary follows

For all media inquiries and interviews, or more photos contact:
Vivienne Winther: director@mfe.org.au 6230 7190 / 6232 4082

Why the ACT government should install water tanks in every house.


Like water of a roof''s back
For more than 10 years we heard State Governments talking about water crisis and from time to time about water tanks. The response to the problem has been subsidies for water tanks, water usage restrictions and a lot of talk. Now we get more threats of worst restrictions, fines and looks like we’ll be drinking filtered sewarage water, that’s all we get. How much we have been offered in compansation to reduce our consumption of water and to let our lawns and gardens die? Nothing! At least of the Federal government proposal of $10b for the Murray Darling, $3.1b would go to pay irrigators.
Federal Labor policy of “loans” for home owners to improve the efficency of their homes, that includes water tanks, is limited to 200.000 dwellings, and who will be using these loans? Probably people that could have done the improvements anyway without any help; but most of the people struggling to pay their mortgages could not afford even the generous repayment plan and the zero interest loans, and finally not many landlords will bother to do it. Anyway, 200K dwellings out of millions of dwellings in the country, make this good will policy look like a band-aid.
Rudd said in his reply: “We must capture as much of this precious resource as possible and use it carefully and wisely”. If the roll out of water tanks to every suitable house in all the cities was started 10 years ago, by now it could have been completed and our water reserves would have been in a better shape and we would not be talking about water restrictions level 4 by July, and 5 or worse in the near future. Now we could have been talking about making every house a mini solar power station.
Of course if we had water tanks and solar power in every roof in the country, the water and power will cease to be attractive to privatization. I was reading with disbelief ACTEW’s add in the paper about the options for the solution of the water crisis and one of the options considered was rainwater tanks, but they said that “it is expensive and dependant on rainfall”!! and then continued: Rainwater tanks can store runoff from your roof for garden watering!! The idea is to use the water from the water tanks to service the toilet, laundry and shower, and then the gray water to be used in the garden. The reality is that rainwater tanks could get us more than 50%, and depending on rainfall, up to 80% or even more of our domestic needs.
ACTEW ACKNOWLEWDGE THAT THE COST TO PUT RAINWATER TANKS TO ALL ACT 110,000 dwellings is estimated to be between $300m and $540m. That’s not much considering that this could reduce dramatically the domestic demand for water, saving at the same time all the beautiful gardens. Just with the last rains we would have all the rain water tanks overflowing. Anyway it shouldn’t be about just cost, but about emergency and need. It’s just a common sense policy.
“Rainwater tanks collect and store water far more efficiently than dams, especially in times of drought. As the climate changes we should be installing tanks to take advantage of the rain that does fall on our roof tops.
If governments systematically installed rainwater tanks in Australia’s major cities, we would secure as much water as the planned Kurnell desalination plant in Sydney, the Tugan desalination plant on the Gold Coast, and the stage one of the Traveston Dam proposed for Queensland’s Mary River”

VC Connect


Register now for VC Connect!
Register today for VC Connect ACT – a dynamic conference that brings Australia’s leading Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs together!

VC Connect educates attendees on understanding the VC process, how to win VC backing and recognise the right VC firm to meet their needs, with plenty of time for networking.

Speakers include:
+ Bill Bartee, Managing Partner, Southern Cross Venture Partners
+ John Grimes, Managing Director & Founder, Perpetual Water
+ Ian Maxwell, Partner, Director & Founder, RPO
+ Nick McNaughton, CEO, Blue Cove Ventures
+ And many more!

Event Details
Date: Wednesday, 25 July, 2007
Time: 11.45am – 5.30pm (followed by drinks & networking)
Venue: The Federal Golf Club, Redhill, ACT

For more information & to register, visit: www.slatteryit.com.au/vcconnect2007 or call 1300 651 485.

Canberra Business Council comments on 2007 ACT Budget


Canberra Business Council
The Canberra Business Council applauded the government on having the courage to make some fairly hard decisions, even though we might not have fully agreed with all measures taken. We still stand by that support despite the recent ACT budget.

There are a number of very good aspects of this budget, most noticeably the fact that a budget surplus is forecast. Not only is it a surplus but it’s a whopper, and the forward estimates are also very impressive. The Budget forecasts the ACT economy will grow by 4 per cent in 2007-08, the same as currently forecast for 2006-07 and slightly stronger than the Australian Government’s forecast for the national economy in 2007-08 – 3 ¾ per cent.

The Budget contains a number of important spending initiatives that the Canberra Business Council welcomes including:

. Funding for National ICT Australia of $6m
. Funding of some affordable housing initiatives of approx $9.25m
. Funding for ACT export and trade initiatives, including the Exporters Network and at least two ACT trade delegations to promote ACT business and industry in export markets – approx 1.85m
. New funding for the Live in Canberra Campaign – $400,000 over 2 years
. Funding of $492,000 over 2 years for ACT Skills Commission
. Funding for development of the local film and media industry through a revamped ScreenACT

There are no new taxes this year which is welcomed however total tax collections are forecast to increase by 8 per cent to $482 million.

Land tax collections are expected to rise by 14 per cent to $72 million and payroll tax by 9 per cent to $239 million, without any change in existing rates. By not increasing threshold levels to at least match the Wage Prices Index or CPI, especially at a time of skill shortages when businesses are having to pay top dollar to not only attract but retain staff, businesses continue to get inappropriately penalised.

The City Centre Levy and increases in gaming taxes announced in last year’s budget will take effect from 1 July 2007.

While there is some new spending for tourism including Floriade approx $1.6 over 4 years – which the Council welcomes – it is particularly disappointed the Government has not used its strong financial position to restore cuts to tourism funding announced in last year’s budget which take effect this year.

The Council would also have liked this year’s Budget to contain a commitment by the ACT Government to developing a new Convention Centre.

The budget should have addressed the shortage of parking spaces in Civic, which is damaging many City businesses and forcing many to relocate out of the city centre.

Development of improved water infrastructure is another area of pressing need, on which the budget is silent.

The Business Council is disappointed that the Government has not used its strong financial position to restore some of the business cuts it made last year.

Given the nature of last years budget and the fact that this is not an election year, you can’t reasonably expect this years budget would include a swag of new initiatives. However this Budget has missed the opportunity to invest considerably more in the Territory’s economic future to ensure future prosperity.

In order to encourage investment in this city and to continue to prosper, we need to remove taxes that are considered to put us in a very non-competitive environment against other jurisdictions.

The Government has missed the opportunity to reduce its reliance on property transaction revenue and profits from its own land development. Unless it reduces its reliance on land revenue, its praiseworthy Housing Affordability initiatives wont have the intended impact. For the economy to grow sustainably the ACT needs to recapture its lost advantage as a city where young families can find affordable housing.

However the Government needs to be investing in business and economic infrastructure to ensure the benefits of previous tough decisions are realised. This has not yet happened to the extent required but we will continue to work with government in the years ahead to ensure this matter is addressed.

The Government’s sound but painful measures last year have produced a healthy $103 million forecast budget surplus next year – and we confidently forecast the surplus will be much stronger than this. However the government has not included in the budget the impacts of the Territory going to Stage 4 water restrictions, which if such restrictions were enforced for the whole year we understand would have a negative impact of approx $50m plus the indirect impacts on business and the economy.

The credibility of the budget and forward estimates continues to be questioned when such impacts are excluded and when prior estimates bear little resemblance to actual results. This is an area the government must address.

Craig Sloan
Canberra Business Council

Women of Spirit Award


Marjorie (the event''s winner) and Stacey Donnelly, who designed and created the award piece of jewellery
Women of Spirit Award

On the 13th June 2007, Lifeline Canberra partnered with O2C Solutions to launch the Inaugural Women of Spirit Award. The award recognises women of the ACT and surrounding areas who have displayed courage by overcoming adversity and given back to the local community in an inspiring manner. The award honours a woman who, in overcoming her personal adversity and making a positive change in society, inspires others to make a difference in their local community.

There were 19 nominees for the 2007 Women of Spirit Award, all of whom had faced difficulties, obstacles and challenges, but had displayed resiliency and courage, building opportunity from adversity.

The Women of Spirit Award luncheon was held at the Southern Cross Club Woden. Congratulations to Marjorie Taylor on winning the 2007 Women of Spirit Award. Marjorie was presented with a rare pink argyle diamond pendant set in 18crt gold designed and created by Stacey Donnelly from the Art of Gold.

Marjorie Taylor has led a remarkable life, firstly caring for her husband Reg, who became a paraplegic in 1967 and losing her daughter, Annette, aged 11, to a cerebral haemorrhage in 1975. Marjorie fought to honour Annette’s wish to donate her organs, despite the lack of legislation in Canberra covering organ harvesting and donation. She was successful – Annette’s kidneys were transplanted into two men aged 16 and 54. She remains active in the Canberra community, volunteering at local schools, being an active member of her parish and as the President of the Belconnen Garden Club.

Lifeline Canberra provides an anonymous, caring and supportive telephone counseling service 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days of the year. Over 60% of the 20 000 calls to Lifeline come from women.

O2C Solutions recognises the invaluable service that Lifeline Canberra provides and were delighted to partner with Lifeline to present this prestigious and ground breaking award. O2C Solutions is a transformational company that uses training, coaching and consulting to build successful and resilient people, leaders and organisations.

ASP.NET Blogging Software


Blogging books booming
Of all of the different kinds of programs on the market today, many people feel that Microsoft’s recently released ASP.NET blogging software is the most advanced. In many ways, this particular program is more adaptable and more versatile than any other blogging software on the market. Although most of the
people who favor the program are accomplished coders
who are familiar with programming languages like html
and C++, this new program from Microsoft is much
easier to use than a lot of other blog design software that incorporates hands-on coding. One of the things that makes ASP.NET stand apart from its competitors is the fact that it allows designers to use a wide variety of programming languages when they build a blog. This means that a larger number of coders can realize their dreams by programming in the language with which they are most familiar and in which they are most accomplished.

A lot of people have welcomed ASP.NET blogging
software with enthusiasm and with open arms. However, that doesn’t mean that the ASP.NET program
is right for everybody. If you are not familiar with
computer languages like javascript or perl, you may
find that the release of ASP.NET does not directly
affect you at all. However, if you are an experienced
web designer, you are likely to find much to celebrate in this exciting new program.

We provide free articles and information. Check us out at Free Articles

Arts Facilities Benefit from Upgrades


Karin with the Director of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Evol McLeod.
Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald MLA has welcomed the news that a number of Canberra’s art facilities would be upgraded in the 2007-08 ACT Budget.

More than $320,000 was allocated in the Budget for capital upgrades to Watson Arts Centre, Strathnairn Homestead, Manuka Arts Centre, Ainslie Arts Centre, Gorman House Arts Centre, the Belconnen Theatre and the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

The Tuggeranong Arts Centre will receive new signage and its floor will be resurfaced.

“New signage will better promote the Centre to the community and encourage people passing by to drop in and check out the latest exhibition or play that may be showing,” Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald said.

“The Tuggeranong Arts Centre plays an important role in the arts and general community, so it is wonderful news that funding has been provided to give it a facelift.”

Ms MacDonald also welcomed the announcement that $2.3 million would be invested in public art over the next four years.

The new Percent-for-art Program will see the equivalent of one per cent of each year’s new capital works budget allocated to commission new public artworks and to care for the existing public art collect.

“This funding will enable artworks to be placed into public spaces that Canberrans occupy and move through everyday and will make a significant contribution to the cultural life of the city,” Ms MacDonald said.

Ms MacDonald met with the Director of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Ms Evol McLeod after the Budget announcement to celebrate the news the Centre would receive new signage and flooring.

Chifley Community Celebrates


Karin with Chifley residents Rebecca Evans, Martin Miller and his daughter Imogen and Louise Evans and her son Reuben.
Families from the Chifley community met recently to celebrate the Budget announcement that their playground will be upgraded.

The Chifley Shopping Centre playground was allocated $100,000 for an upgrade in last week’s Budget, which will see it expanded and equipment replaced. This is part of the $2.8 million the Government has invested into upgrading and improving facilities and infrastructure at local and district parks across the Territory.

Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald MLA is a resident of Chifley and has lobbied with the community for the playground to be upgraded.

“The Chifley Shops is a thriving centre that receives many visitors throughout the day. It is a meeting point for the community and a place for them to come together to enjoy a coffee and a chat and for their children to play,” Ms MacDonald said. “Over the years, the existing playground has become rundown so it is wonderful news it will be upgraded to better reflect the community’s need.”

Canberra Bookworms Reading for a Reason


Kaleen residents Noah and Merryn take part in MS readathon together
Across Canberra, thousands of eager young minds are swelling, as they take part in reading activities for the 2007 MS Readathon.

The MS Readathon, now in its 28th year of operation, aims to inspire Aussie Kids to read to change the lives of Australians living with Multiple Sclerosis.

For many participants, the Readathon is their first exposure to philanthropy. This makes MS Readathon an important program for the community, having a positive impact for people with MS, as well as enhancing the literacy skills and social awareness of all children involved.

In 2007, 6900 schools across Canberra, including 293 schools from across the ACT region are participating. A staggering 700,000 registration forms have been given out to Australian children, the highest amount that has ever been distributed.

Registrations through the website, www.msreadathon.org.au have been tremendous, exceeding previous years. The all important registrations coming through the post however, especially given the record number of forms available, have left everybody wondering, where are all the bookworms?

A record number of schools hosted a visit from an MS Readathon community representative this year, so they certainly are out there. It is likely they are waiting until the end of June to send their registration forms in. It is important to register as early as possible, to ensure students involved in MS Readathon achieve the maximum benefit from their experience.

“MS Readathon is recognised as one of the most positive fundraising events of the year, and if all students return their registration forms we will have record participation again this year” said Mr Cammell.

It is not too late to register for the Readathon, and read to help improve the lives of Australians living with Multiple Sclerosis.

WHAT: MS Readathon
When: All through June,
How: Post registration forms available from schools and libraries, visit www.msreadathon.org.au or call 1300 677 323.

Panta Rei Fusiondancing


Panta Rei Fusiondancing at a recent Canberra performance; (from left to right:) Marianne, Jonathan and Panta Rei.
PANTA REI Fusiondancing is a form of dancing that combines dance styles such as Spanish-Gypsy, African, Asian, Middle Eastern dancing and modern dancing, by fusing them yet while retaining many of their characteristic features. The ‘Dancing to World Music’ class is very relaxed and sociable, without the stress to memorise steps. It is a great way to get fit and stay in shape. No previous dance experience is necessary. It’s low impact and there is no pressure – nobody is judged and there are no mistakes, only ‘little variations’ that help towards each dancer’s self-development. You can wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, perhaps you can tie a scarf around your hips, but definitely bring a smile along.

Panta Rei is the philosophy of Heraclitus, who lived around 500 BC in ancient Greece. It translates as “everything flows”, indicating that everything is constantly changing. Applied to dancing, it means that movements smoothly flow into each other, as the dancer is immersed in music and inspired by ambiance.

Panta Rei, the dancer, set out to design choreographies along this philosophy, as well as costumes that emphasise flow, such as veils and wide skirts with lots of flamboyant colours. Panta Rei has been a teacher for most of her working life, teaching different subjects at many different schools, but her real passion has always been with dance. She studied with various dance specialists in Europe, the US, New Zealand and Australia, both in classical, modern and ethnic dance. Eventually, she combined the various styles into a whole new type of dance, resulting in the spectacular choreographies, costumes and rhythms of Panta Rei Fusiondancing.

Dance classes are at Gorman House (B block), Braddon, on most Thursdays or Fridays (call or check the web for details!). The class ‘Dancing to World Music and to Live Hand-Drumming’ starts at 6:15 pm. You don’t need a partner. No need to be afraid to brave the cold, because the hall is heated. Special discounts apply this winter – call for more details!

It is followed by a hand-drumming group at 8.00 pm – bring your own hand-drum (e.g. a darabooka, tabla or djembe), or contact Panta Rei for more information at: 0405 638910



Finding and applying for funding through the ACT Government Grants Programs is now much easier with a new website launched today by ACT Minister for Community Services Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA.

The grants portal (www.grants.act.gov.au) is a single access point that will provide information on all grants programs across the ACT Government.

Grants will be listed under two key streams: health and community wellbeing grants and city and territory service grants.

“Local organisations and individuals can apply for funding under 22 diverse grants programs,” Ms. Gallagher said.

“Each year we see the ACT Government’s grants funding at work through the delivery of a range of community-based services – along with innovative projects that enhance our wellbeing, the arts, the environment and our heritage.”

“In the past, information about the ACT Government’s grants rounds has been spread across a number of agency websites.”

“By using the new grants portal, people can access everything they need to know about the grants process – including the different types of programs, the amount of funding available, eligibility criteria and the assessment process.”

“People will also find tips on putting together an application, as well as information on initiatives funded in previous grants rounds. Future enhancement of the website will work towards online lodgement and monitoring of applications.”

The grants portal was a commitment under the 2006-07 ACT Budget. The site is managed by the ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.

For more information visit www.grants.act.gov.au. Full list of ACT Government Grants Programs attached.

Tobacco reform continues


The ACT Government had significantly reformed the laws governing the sale and use of tobacco for the promotion of better health for people living in the ACT, the Minister for Health Ms. Katy Gallagher said today.

“We have made great advancements in reform around control, use and sale of tobacco – but there is still more work to be done,” Ms. Gallagher said.

Nearly 19,019 Australians die from tobacco-related illnesses every year, compared to 2,831 from alcohol, 863 from drugs.

The Minister said that the work that had already been done was vast, and covered many aspects such as the enclosed public places legislation which ensured that indoor areas of pubs, clubs and restaurants in the ACT went smoke-free from 1 December 2006.

“This reform seeks to protect workers and the public from being exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, reduces the chances of young people taking up smoking and encourages smokers to make the decision to quit smoking,” she said.

ACT’s progress on tobacco reform include:

. 1994 – smoking banned in many enclosed public places – retail shops, sporting, educational and recreational facilities;
. 1995 – Restaurants and cafés go smoke-free
. 1999 – age of consent from young people increased from 16 – 18 years old;
. August 2005 – the sale of fruit flavoured cigarettes prohibited;
. September 2006 – vending machines banned in the ACT;
. December 2006 – enclosed public places legislation enacted;
. 2006 – Legislation enacted for compliance testing for sale of tobacco to minors;

“The ACT’s licensing system – which has required retailers and wholesalers to be licensed since 1999 – allowed the government to move swiftly to ban the sale of fruit flavoured cigarettes through a condition on the licenses in August 2005.”

Since 2000, there have been restrictions on the number of points of sale for tobacco, product displays and health warning signage requirements which reduced the visibility of tobacco products to the general public.

“Vending machines were banned on 1 September last year, which makes it more difficult for young people to make illegal purchases of tobacco,” Ms. Gallagher said.

The Tobacco (Compliance Testing) Amendment Act 2006 was passed in 2006 to achieve and maintain high levels of retail compliance to the ‘sales to minors’ provision of the Tobacco Act.

“As the common age to begin smoking is 15-16 years of age, compliance tests ensure that tobacco products are not sold to people under 18 year olds.”

The government has more reforms currently under consideration including further restricting tobacco use in outdoor eating areas, around building entrances, and at under-age functions.

Future tobacco reforms currently being considered by the Government include:

. Seller controlled units;
. Further point of sale restrictions;
. Legislating on split packs and fruit flavoured cigarettes;
. Prohibition of smoking in outdoor eating areas;
. Prohibition of smoking in front of building entrances
. Prohibition of smoking at underage functions;
. Prohibition of smoking in playgrounds
. Prohibition of smoking in cars with children;

The government will be progressing these reforms this year.

Ms Gallagher said tobacco was the single largest preventable cause of premature death in Australia and as long as this was the case, governments would need to continue to do more to change this fact, and work to reduce the harmful effects that smoking has on the community.