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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . .

Page.. 979..

Gene Technology Act, pursuant to subsection 136A(3)—Operations of the Gene Technology Regulator—Quarterly report—1 July to 30 September 2015, dated 23 November 2015.

Local services

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: The Speaker has received letters from Ms Burch, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mr Hanson, Mr Hinder, Mrs Jones, Ms Lawder, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, the Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Coe be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of good local services in the ACT.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (3.48): I am delighted to bring this matter of public importance in my name to the Assembly today. And what an important one it is. The ACT government's role is to provide good local services to the people that they represent. We in the Assembly will do all we can to ensure that services get better than they currently are. If you think of the fees, taxes, charges and rates that Canberrans pay, they should get better than they currently get.

In this MPI today I would like to run through a number of local services which have clearly been neglected by this government over the past 15 years. They are, of course, all opportunities for this government to improve on how they deliver services for the people of Canberra.

Of course, one of the top complaints that I receive, and indeed many of my colleagues receive, is that of the quality of footpaths in Canberra. Unfortunately, the footpaths right across the territory, where they exist, are reflective of this government's neglect of local services. Residents frequently contact us to raise concerns about cracked, lifting, or, indeed, non-existent footpaths. There are many places where it is dangerous for residents to walk on footpaths.

The maintenance of footpaths is, of course, an important part of this government's responsibility. But I was surprised to find out that there is in fact no formal inspection program and there is in effect no formal programmed maintenance. It is all done on a response or reactive process. The government does not know where footpaths are in poor condition unless people tell them. It takes a trip or a near-fall for those issues to be identified. It is for that reason that I know why this government had to pay out so much money through insurance to people who have had falls on Canberra footpaths. This is an all-too-regular occurrence and something which I think clearly needs to be addressed.

Something else in this urban services space is the maintenance of streetlights. Many streetlights, particularly in older suburbs, are insufficient. Indeed, not only are many of the light bulbs not of a suitable standard but the actual poles themselves are often located behind trees and sometimes quite a few metres back from the road. So you

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