Page 1630 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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Somers Crescent in Forrest is a thoroughfare for many inner south families whose children go to Forrest Primary School. It is probably not surprising that many residents who navigate Somers Crescent are also older Canberrans. This street has no footpath—not just no footpath on one side; it has no footpath. Local residents and schoolchildren who walk this street are forced to navigate uneven nature strips or walk along the narrow road, watching out for cars, and are often forced to cross to the other side because of cars that are parked on that street.

Locals who have asked for a footpath to be built here also raised the same issue with the late Steve Doszpot, first when he was a member for Molonglo, then as a member for Kurrajong, before his passing several years ago. These residents are grateful for Steve’s, as we know, dogged lobbying on local issues. But many, many years on, it is a sad indictment of this Labor-Greens government that there is still no appetite to do anything for these residents.

I know that this Labor-Greens government does not find footpaths very sexy, but it is a basic municipal service that is bread and butter for any local government. It is this very basic service that this government continues to fail at, all while it continues to of course gouge Canberrans with eye-wateringly high rates. Many residents who live in this area pay over $10,000 a year in rates and they do not even get a basic footpath so that they can walk their own street.

Somers Crescent is not the only street that is crying out for a footpath. Whilst there are countless others, a few that I will mention here today, because they are repeatedly raised with me, are Esperance Street in Red Hill, Vasey Crescent in Campbell and various sections of Antill Street in Watson. These are all very busy streets in my electorate of Kurrajong where constituents have continued to raise with me the lack of a footpath.

Whilst footpaths do not grab media attention or make for an inspiring adjournment speech in the Assembly, it is incredibly frustrating for local residents that their lobbying for years and years for a basic municipal service continues to be ignored. This is a government that has spent the last nine years trying to be the federal opposition, so perhaps now, finally, it can do its actual job of being a local government. After all, Canberrans deserve a city that is befitting of the title of nation’s capital.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.03 pm until Tuesday, 7 June 2022 at 10.00 am.

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