Regional Development Australia ACT congratulates Dr Christopher Bourke on his election to the ACT Legislative Assembly as the new Member for Ginninderra, replacing former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope. Chris becomes the first Indigenous member of the Legislative Assembly.
Chris has been a long-standing member, and Treasurer, of the Regional Development Australia ACT Committee, having been a member since the inception of the organisation when, on 25 May 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding establishing Regional Development Australia in the ACT was signed by Parliamentary Secretary Gary Gray (on behalf of the Commonwealth Government) and Chief Minister Jon Stanhope (on behalf of the ACT Government).
Chris was also an active member of the Capital Region Area Consultative Committee – the predecessor of Regional Development Australia ACT Committee. His focus areas included social inclusion, with particular regard to Indigenous issues, especially Aboriginal youth justice and rehabilitation. In addition, Chris was involved with many community organisations including the Indigenous Dentists’ Association of Australia, the Capital Arts Patrons Organisation, the Neville Bonner Scholarship Committee and the Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality.
In recent months, Chris has been providing locum dental services across remote Australian communities. Previously he had conducted a private dental practice in Canberra for seventeen years, including undertaking pro bono work at the Queanbeyan Public Dental Clinic. When Chris graduated from Melbourne University in 1982, he was the first Aborigine to complete a dental degree.
But this win for the ACT Legislative Assembly is, unfortunately, a loss for Regional Development Australia ACT (RDA ACT), as Chris cannot undertake both roles simultaneously. So we wish Chris well for the future, and know that he will provide a strong and passionate voice within the ACT Legislative Assembly, committed to enhancing the well-being of all its residents.
We have no doubt that Chris’ election to the Assembly will enhance the synergies currently in place between RDA ACT and the ACT Government.