Page 3274 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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We also, obviously, have the Braddon streetscape upgrade occurring. Again, the consultation, and how the consultation was viewed by the payers, does not seem to be part of the agenda. I would encourage any government agency that is collecting a special levy from a certain category of taxpayer to really find a way to see that the taxpayers are satisfied with the level of engagement from them, the relevant authority, to whom the tax is being paid. Surely that would make sense; that would be good governance, but that does not seem to be the priority. Again, as I mentioned briefly, the engagement through surveys does not seem to be working, so CRA needs to find other ways to engage with the payers of this special levy and get some genuine feedback on the impact of it upon them.

Another thing that I did explore during estimates was the very high figure that was presented of the 27 full-time equivalent staff in the employ of CRA. During estimates, I posed the question—we have a wage bill of just over $6 million for 27 staff, which is an incredibly high average for an authority that is meant to improve the city. I did wonder if there were people on staff to do basic and fundamental works, because if you go down to the fountain, at the moment, you will see at the entrance to the Canberra Centre this very attractive piece of infrastructure, and right next to it there are some bollards to say “don’t walk here” because there is paving so seriously damaged it would be unsafe to walk on. In fact, in one spot, there is no paver at all.

I do wonder if a city renewal authority, by definition, should ensure that the paving in the city is of first-class standard. I invite every member here to go for a walk at lunchtime; go and inspect the paving which is under the purview of the City Renewal Authority, for which payers pay a levy. You would think that the least they could do would be first-class walkways and paving, but unfortunately that is not what I have experienced when I have gone there. Again, I would invite other members to go and have a look, and perhaps you can give some feedback to the City Renewal Authority.

Touching on the budget of over $6 million for 27 full-time equivalent staff—and I thank the Chief Minister for responding to the question taken on notice. As a breakdown of those 27.29 full-time equivalent staff, as per the information from the Chief Minister, we have six full-time equivalent executives at an average salary of $333,000. We have three infrastructure manager specialists, and I think I might be inquiring for a little bit more detail on what those positions actually do. We have three full-time equivalent infrastructure manager specialists on a quarter of a million dollars a year, average. We have just over 3½ full-time equivalent infrastructure officer staff—I wonder if there are some pavers in that or not—at an average wage of $185,000 each. We have 11.6 senior officers at $178,000 average income, and, again, I might be interested in the breakdown of their actual duties. Then, without specifying levels, we have three ASO, administrative service officers, at an average wage of $113,000 per year.

The Chief Minister did advise that the actual expenditure was $5.8 million, but the 2022-23 budget includes indexation, which takes up the increment to just over $6 million. It is an extraordinarily high amount for people who appear to be at really high-level functions; and yet payers are not being engaged on the impact of developments and where basic works, like the paving, are rather inadequate and actually quite dangerous—where sections of it are marked off “do not walk here”.

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