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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13136

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (13:55): Earlier this year ACT Walking for Pleasure celebrated its 25th anniversary. The group initially received financial assistance from the government as part of the Life Be In It campaign, but it very quickly became an independent non-profit organisation.

Over the past 25 years the group has conducted over 6,200 walks, bringing much physical and social enjoyment to many people. These walks have ranged far and wide in Canberra and its surrounding regions, though they also venture further into NSW, on either one-day excursions or longer expeditions. Some of these walks are short, others involve major bushwalks. About 70 walks are offered, covering urban paths and by-ways, Canberra nature parks, river corridors, ACT forests, Canberra urban parks, and national parks in the ACT and neighbouring NSW.

As a regular walker I share the aims of the group, which are to encourage walking as an activity for the promotion of health and to encourage exercise on a regular basis for fitness, for social interaction and for wellbeing. Walking for Pleasure also promotes the interests of the wider Canberra community. The group assists ACT Health clients who have mental or physical disabilities, and if the walks are not suitable they refer them on to groups who offer walks closer to their home area or more suited to their particular disability.

ACT Walking for Pleasure most definitely has its priorities right. Before the walks they begin by having a conversation on where they will go for coffee afterwards. This extra social contact is not just good for physical and mental health, it is also good for the local economy.