Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3736..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
I repeat: look around, open your eyes, drive around. I know that the minister has recently introduced some litter and antigraffiti measures. But these things, Minister, will take time to get moving. We cannot expect to see these things happening overnight. In fact, the figures I quoted in relation to the infringements, fines and prosecutions give me no confidence that graffiti, litter and the various other things that make a city look untidy are going to improve.
I have no confidence that these things are going to improve simply because legislation has been passed in this place. It also takes a commitment from a government and a government department, and I do not have confidence that that exists. People are becoming concerned about the state of the city; they are also becoming very concerned about the increase in their rates. One would hope, I repeat, that some of the money that is raised here would go back into improving the city. What can you say to somebody who rings up and tells you that their rates have risen 74 per cent in two years or that the increase in the capital value of the place rose $57,000 last year and $102,000 this year?
Mr Wood: Congratulations on a fine investment.
MR CORNWELL: The Minister states that, but it is all very easy to say, "Yes-tremendous capital gain."That only applies if you sell the place, Minister, as you well know. I think it is reasonable that somebody who is paying this sort of money should get something back for it. The least we can do is to clean up the mess that exists in this city at the moment-the graffiti, the litter.
Why can't we address these questions and give the majority of people who live here something back? Why are you concentrating all the time on minority matters? That is an ideological hang-up that you people have. The fact is that ordinary, decent citizens who are paying their way deserve a bit more than what you have delivered to date. This city is not looking good. It is untidy; it is dirty; it is neglected. That does not apply just to the centre of the city. I am sure that my colleagues from Ginninderra and from Brindabella electorates would be able to echo my complaints.
Mr Pratt: You can't blame it on the drought.
MR CORNWELL: Thank you, Mr Pratt. You cannot blame the drought for the way that the city is looking run-down and dishevelled.
Mr Wood: Did I mention the drought?
MR CORNWELL: I do not believe it is. I remind members that, as my constituent said, we are not some Third World country. We are the national capital of Australia. We are custodians for the rest of Australia of this city. At the moment, you could be forgiven for imagining it is some sort of disease-ridden shantytown from a Graham Greene novel. That may be stretching it a little. But I urge you, the government, to do something about improving the look of this place, crack down on the people who are disfiguring and making a mess of it and have a bit of pride in what you people are governing.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and