Elizabeth Lee MLA
Member for Kurrajong
Shadow Minister for Disability
Shadow Minister for the Environment

Closure of SHOUT and the impact on its Member groups

 Last month, some board members of SHOUT came and saw me to discuss the plight of SHOUT and its future; the devastating effect it will have on SHOUT and their member groups and affiliates due to the refusal or failure of the ACT Government to guarantee funding to continue its operation.


This week in the Assembly, I moved a motion in the Legislative Assembly calling on the ACT Government to:

  1. commit financial assistance to SHOUT until 30 June 2019; and
  2. recognise that abandoning SHOUT will have massive flow on effects to dozens of other groups and they too will face a similar future to SHOUT.

In speaking to the motion, I outlined the valuable work SHOUT and its member groups do for Canberra families and the tragic consequences of them not securing ongoing funding.


I highlighted the numerous efforts that SHOUT had made from July 2016 to meet with the relevant Ministers and their directorates, of the vague promises they were given and the ultimate decision they took to close at the end of May 2017.


As I told the Assembly:


“So, Madam Speaker, despite all the briefings and all the apparent concern for the future of this organisation it seems that the ACT government has failed or refused to find out exactly what work SHOUT does, the extent of the impact of their work and the extent of reliance their member organisations have on SHOUT and their integral and unique place in our community...


“As Jon Stanhope AO, former ACT Labor Chief Minister and Patron of SHOUT says, and his previous role in this Assembly means his words do carry some credibility when he says this,


“Every government in Canberra since the 1980s has, for starkly obvious reasons, regarded the funding of SHOUT as a priority. The decision to cease funding SHOUT has, therefore, to be interpreted as meaning that the government believes that it is either now redundant or at best that its existence and operations are not now regarded as a priority.


The same government that yesterday, had its Deputy Chief Minister saying:


...we will not be forsaking the people in our community and we will not be ignoring our roles as leaders to bring the voices of some of the lowest paid young women and men in our community, our friends, their kids, people who live in our community...


Are the Canberrans who live with a disability or a health chronic condition not worth this type of passionate response from the government?


A full transcript of the debate can be found at


We will continue to press the ACT Government on their refusal to support SHOUT and with it, its member groups and affiliates, at the time they need it most.

I hope that my efforts on behalf of the Canberra Liberals, together with wider community pressure, will convince the ACT Government that such groups must be supported.

Media Release Tuesday 14 March 2017


The Barr government is urged to come clean after a Freedom of Information request to investigate the cause of ongoing stench was denied, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Nicole Lawder said today.

The FOI request was to investigate the cause of putrid odour, believed to be coming from the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre, and to determine the measures being taken to mitigate the smell.  

 “I have questioned the government on the issue for more than three years and they still have not come clean as to where the stench is coming from. Now, four months after I submitted a FOI request to get to the bottom of the matter it has been refused.   

 “Residents in my electorate are not happy that the government is not prioritising the matter. I have been trying to get answers through my FOI request and now it appears they are blocking that avenue too,” Ms Lawder said.

“Suggestions for more comprehensive tests to identify the cause of the odour also appear to have been rejected.”

Elizabeth Lee MLA
Member for Kurrajong
Shadow Minister for Disability
Shadow Minister for the Environment

Media Release Thursday 23 February 2017


I welcome the ACT Government’s attempt to consult with residents over the proposed plastic to fuel facility in Hume. However, the consultation sessions are at ridiculous times of the day and will preclude many busy and concerned residents from having their say on the contentious issue, Shadow Minister for Environment Elizabeth Lee said today.

“If the proposed facility is to go ahead, it’s important we get it right and the Canberra Liberals are committed to the scrutiny process for the best outcome for all Canberrans. The government has consulted on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the facility but the panel heading the inquiry now wants to hold one drop in session and one public hearing at inconvenient times,” Ms Lee said.

“The drop in session scheduled for 3pm to 6pm on Monday the 6th of March means many residents who work or have to pick kids up from school won’t be able to make it. Likewise, with the public hearing which is scheduled for 1:30pm to 4:30pm on Tuesday the 7th of March. Why can’t the consultations be held in the evening or on weekends?

“Once again the ACT government seems to be running to its own timetable instead of meeting the needs of the community. Does the government have something to hide? If the government is genuine about transparent, proper consultation with the community, it would and should make these times realistic and accessible,” Ms Lee concluded.

Media Release - 8 March 2017


DATE: 8 March 2017In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017, YWCA Canberra will host three women MLAs at a morning tea event at the ACT Legislative Assembly, to explore how they can ‘lead the change’ toward gender equality in the ACT.

Deputy Chief Minister, Yvette Berry will join Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Nicole Lawder and Greens Member for Murrumbidgee, Caroline Le Couteur in a panel discussion, hosted by ABC journalist, Adrienne Francis.

The session will highlight the personal leadership journeys of the panelists, and their views on the action needed to achieve gender equality in the ACT.

“This International Women’s Day presents a unique opportunity for us here in Canberra, where we have equal gender representation in the Legislative Assembly for the first time,” YWCA Canberra Executive Director, Frances Crimmins said.

“The theme for IWD is ‘Be bold for change’, and we want to ensure that the ACT Government continues to prioritise gender equality as a key policy priority both in the immediate and long-term.”

As a leading not-for-profit organisation with over 80 years of experience in being a voice for women in the ACT, YWCA Canberra is proposing a range of evidence-based policy measures that will progress gender equality in the ACT.

“We’re working with key decision-makers and leaders from across the political spectrum to ensure Canberra is leading the way on gender equality.

“We need to ensure that gender equality is at the forefront of all decision making. The Women’s Plan was a great step towards a whole of Government approach. It now needs the commitment of all of the Directorates and the support of a central agency with the oversight and resources to drive accountability across the whole of Government. That’s why we are calling on The Office for Women to be moved to the Chief Ministers Office, so that it can play its intended role of supporting all directorates to meaningfully progress gender equality,” Ms Crimmins said.

YWCA Canberra’s IWD #LeadTheChange morning tea will take place from 10am to 12pm on Wednesday 8 March at the ACT Legislative Assembly, with more than 90 leaders from across the community, business and government sectors.

16 February 2017

Plans for Tuggeranong cemetery and crematorium appear to be put on hold

Legislative Assembly - Questions without Notice

MS LAWDER: My question is to the minister for planning. In 2008 the ACT government set aside a site on Mugga Lane for a new cemetery. In 2013 the ACT Public Cemeteries Authority Chief Executive was quoted in the Canberra Times as saying that a multi-million dollar cemetery and crematorium would be operating in the city’s south by 2017, yet in Monday’s Canberra Times there was a report stating that “the government was reluctant to state whether plans had been scrapped”. Minister, has the government scrapped plans for a new cemetery and/or crematorium in Tuggeranong?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Lawder for her question. Whilst I am not the minister with responsibility for cemeteries, Planning and Land Management is my portfolio. We have looked at the opportunity for a new cemetery on the south side. Those investigations continue. However, in the meantime, before providing certainty on a cemetery site for the south side, we are looking for other opportunities across the ACT to take up that role, if you like. It is important, particularly for the people of Tuggeranong and those living on the south side, to have an opportunity for end-of-life options in that form, and we will continue to work along that process.

MS LAWDER: Thank you to the non-minister for cemeteries. Minister, when will Tuggeranong have a cemetery and crematorium?

MR GENTLEMAN: It is a matter of timing, looking at the availability of the land and, of course, looking at the other options. We have announced that we are expanding the Woden Cemetery. There is an opportunity there for some take-up before we provide a cemetery for Tuggeranong. It is a concept we have discussed with the community, and we intend to do that further down the line.

Ms Lawder: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, the question quite clearly asked when. I did not hear a particular time frame in the minister’s response.

MADAM SPEAKER: The minister has time to respond to your question. Minister.

MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, I said further down the line.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, can I just clarify. Are you still talking about the Mugga Lane site? You have knocked back a variety of opportunities. I should possibly declare that I was previously a member—

MADAM SPEAKER: No preamble, Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: Are you still committed to the Mugga Lane site? It was not clear from your answer.

MR GENTLEMAN: At this stage we have looked at the Mugga Lane site. We are also looking at other opportunities on the south side.