Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3673..
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (11:58): I thank Mr Coe for his motion today, and I am pleased to have this opportunity to inform the Assembly about the progress of the review. On average, ACT residents directly interact with the Department of Territory and Municipal Services at least five times every day—that is each and every one of us. The department has a central role in building Canberra's environmental, social, cultural and economic capital. TAMS is a hands-on organisation whose staff are committed and work hard to deliver services to the Canberra community.
I have mentioned in recent days some of the services TAMS provides, but in order to provide context to the discussion we are having it serves to repeat just some of the issues which TAMS faces every day. TAMS manages a 700,000-item library collection; TAMS maintains and manages 3,000 kilometres of public road, 2,400 kilometres of footpaths and cycle paths; TAMS manages 70,000 street lights; TAMS manages 630,000 urban street trees; TAMS reunites and rehouses lost or unwanted dogs; TAMS manages 3,345 hectares of urban open space; TAMS manages the cleaning of 84 shopping centres; TAMS is responsible for city cleaning; TAMS is responsible for graffiti management; TAMS is responsible for cleaning public toilets; TAMS is responsible for litter removal; TAMS is responsible for removal of dead trees; TAMS manages just under 500 individual playgrounds; and TAMS operates and manages just under 300 individual and separate barbecue areas. These are just some of the things that TAMS does.
As the city grows and the environment changes, TAMS is being faced with new challenges: the maintenance of ageing infrastructure, such as roads, street paving and toilets, and a city which continues to grow and expand. This puts pressure on existing service delivery as resources are spread across a growing city. As a community, we are faced with the realities of climate change. Canberra's trees continue to suffer as a result of the drought, with an increasing number having to be removed. Our stormwater system has to be augmented to handle more intense storms. These are just some of the challenges TAMS is faced with and is already managing while still delivering high-quality services.
Two years after its formation, and with consideration given to the high-quality service delivery program undertaken by the department, the government undertook a review of the department and its functions so that any necessary refinements and adjustments could be made. What was asked for and what was delivered was a warts-and-all look at the ACT government agency that is responsible for delivering so many of the services important to Canberrans.
The review was born of the desire to always aspire to greater efficiency and service. The strategic budget review is all about getting on with the job of caring for the territory and caring for our community. The report's recommendations are a catalyst for change and identify areas for improvement. Some require structural reorganisation and some require a re-examination of priorities and how the department manages and delivers its services.