Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 August 2022) . . Page.. 2193 ..
outcome. We have seen a huge ramp-up in our mowing passes over the last few years and we have provided surge funding in each of the last two years.
I am very pleased that, as part of the budget which the Treasurer will be handing down this evening, we will be funding $1.2 million for a rapid mowing team, which will be provided for a year, in a pilot, to tackle some of the pressures that our mowing team has faced over recent years and to be more responsive to the community. It will involve new staff across three teams, which will add to our mowing capacity. These dedicated teams can be deployed to any part of Canberra where additional pressure exists or hotspots that might be identified by the community, or by other means, to make sure that we can get our mowing done during this very wet season, which is due to continue, based on the advice of the bureau.
I acknowledge the great interest that Ms Clay has in mowing and conservation. I thank the teams within Transport Canberra and City Services for the dedicated work that they are doing to ensure that our mowing teams keep our city tidy, while respecting the importance of biodiversity in our urban areas. This is a conversation that I and Minister Vassarotti have been having with TCCS and EPSDD for some time. I was very pleased to be able to update Ms Clay on, particularly, our interest in looking at the options around signage for the non-conservation areas where we want these areas to be protected from mowing. It is great to see that picked up in the motion today, so we are very pleased to support it.
(Brindabella) (4.31): I thank Ms Clay for bringing forward this motion today. I think all of us in this chamber have become aware of how passionate Ms Clay is about our local environment and biodiversity and I appreciate that this motion is coming from a genuine place. It is quite a wordy motion, so I am not going to go through everything in the motion. I will just summarise it by saying that it calls for better collaboration between the teams at EPSDD and TCCS on matters of environmental and urban importance. I know from my own interest in improving our lakes and waterways that the maintenance practices in our city services space can be improved to further the environmental outcomes that we are all looking for.
Sometimes—not always, but sometimes—these changes can be low cost and easy to implement. It is therefore confusing and disappointing when we see a left-hand and a right-hand approach, with one area of the ACT government doing something to improve our environmental outcomes, while another area of the government is contributing to the very problem that we are trying to fix. For example, we have all seen gutters full of leaves that are not being swept from the street, or gutters not swept frequently enough. We have seen examples of mowing where we have grass clippings that seem to go straight into the gutters and kerbs, to be left there until the next rainfall washes them down into our stormwater system.
I have had many pieces of correspondence with the minister about this, about mowing practices, including, more recently, sending photos of mowing at Lake Tuggeranong with grass clippings over the surface of the lake, the clippings going directly into the lake. This is very disappointing for locals; it is very disappointing for people who are interested in water quality. We are spending millions of dollars to improve water quality, but, on the other hand, the actions of some of our own people are contributing to the problem.