Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (16 October) . . Page.. 2986..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
called Living on the edge: an overview of the community of West Belconnen and the services and service gaps of the area. The report was done by Uniting Care Kippax on behalf of the West Belconnen Inter Agency Liaison Group; it was funded and supported by Belconnen Community Services.
It was very instructive for me to read this report before we went into Anti-Poverty Week. West Belconnen is a little unique in Canberra, in that this is a city that has not had pockets of poverty. We have not, for instance, had a suburb of which we have been able to say, "That is a disadvantaged suburb,"as people do about western Sydney and parts of Melbourne. That is because the ACT has been developed under a planning ethic which says that public housing should be dotted all around our city—we should have a social mix.
That is not forgetting that once upon a time most of Canberra was public housing. But we would all be aware that there were lesser and greater public houses, with the senior executives housed up towards the top of hills while the workers were housed in the valleys. Sad to say, in my time in Canberra I have been able to afford only the houses in the valleys, but I imagine the views from the hills possibly contribute to the prices.
West Belconnen is an area on the north-western suburban fringe of the ACT. It houses approximately 20,000 people, or six per cent of the ACT population. It includes the suburbs of Higgins, Holt, Macgregor, Charnwood and Dunlop. These are suburbs that lost their high school a couple of years ago—Ginninderra high school. Reading this report makes me wonder about the suitability of a super school in a population that is so disadvantaged by comparison with other Canberra people. For instance, there are 400 families in west Belconnen that do not have a car. If those families have children, we have to think about how they will get those children to school. There are no buses that go directly to Civic. To go anywhere, people have to use irregular bus services—go to Belconnen and then go on from there. If they need to go to the south side or other places beyond Civic, I am not quite sure how they manage that. We can be talking about a 11/2 or two-hour trip to access community services.
This document is a plea for better transport services, better located community services, more adequate and affordable medical services, a holistic approach to service delivery, a stronger emphasis on primary care and early intervention and a focus on community development and enhancement to reflect the effects of social isolation. There is a very high percentage of sole parent families here and a very high percentage of families where there is no paid worker, and there is a real lack of access to services.
If the ACT government wants to do something about poverty in the ACT, I suggest that some consultation with Uniting Care Kippax and Belconnen Community Services could lead to better services in that precinct.
Health—oral and maxillofacial services
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (6.08): Almost a month ago to the day, I put out a media release on an ACT Health report which has apparently been languishing and gathering dust since it was released in December 2005. That report reviewed the provision of