Page 1490 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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Access Canberra—Dickson service centre

MR CAIN: My question is to the minister for regulatory services. Minster, I am aware of several constituents who have called the Canberra Liberals over the past few weeks concerned about how the Access Canberra storefront at Dickson is not open for general transactions.

Wait times are concerningly high across the ACT. Some residents have told me that, even post-lockdown, they have had to wait up to four hours in a storefront and some have not even managed to complete their transaction in that time. Minister, considering the extraordinarily long wait times, why is the Dickson storefront closed for general transactions?

MS CHEYNE: I would note, for members’ benefit, that I am the minister for better regulation, not regulatory services. I thank Mr Cain for the question. It is true that the Dickson service centre does remain closed, except for land titles transactions as well as a new initiative that we have just started with COTA, which I will go to shortly. But it is worth noting, as we have discussed many times here, that Access Canberra is not immune from the effects of COVID-19 and that at any one time Access Canberra employees, including those who service our shopfronts, are in isolation, or have caring responsibilities or might have COVID themselves.

While Dickson has largely remained closed, I would note that all four of the other service centres remain open, that they are all easily accessible by public transport, and that the wait times there are much lower than Mr Cain would have this Assembly believe. Our wait times are published on the Access Canberra website. I pulled it up—that is how quickly I was able to do it; I pulled it up while Mr Cain was speaking—and all of the wait times at the moment are under half an hour, with Tuggeranong being the shortest. I would also note that Wednesdays are our busiest day.

Going briefly to the trial that we are undertaking with the Council on the Ageing, we have heard that there is feedback from older Canberrans that they would like an appointment-based system where they would have a more specific time in which to attend and have already discussed with an Access Canberra contact centre employee about what they needed to bring for that appointment. It is less efficient—(Time expired.)

MR CAIN: Minister, why is the Dickson service centre named “Access Canberra Service Centre Dickson”—the same generic name as the full service centres in Gungahlin, Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong—and yet, as you said, it is only providing services for land titles?

MS CHEYNE: We have heard some extraordinary things today, Madam Speaker.

Mr Cain: Please answer the question.

MS CHEYNE: This one might take the cake. I would note that I am seven seconds into the answer, Madam Speaker.

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