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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 May 1995) . . Page.. 83 ..


outside the boundaries of what is in our own best interests and those of others like us and consider the interests of others, always remembering to give first priority to those with the fewest advantages. This is a responsibility we all share in this Assembly, in the media, in the community at large. If we are to build a better Canberra, it is a responsibility we must all embrace.

MS HORODNY (8.11): I have come to this Assembly as a lifetime resident of this wonderful region, where I was born and where members of my family were born and have died. This is a place full of memories for me. I remember Canberra as a much smaller city, a place before McDonalds, before invasion by feral mynah birds, when the newly built suburb of Curtin was considered to be so far away that people said no-one would want to live there. I want to work to retain those fabulous qualities that are unique to Canberra while addressing the problems that threaten our quality of life - problems like crime, violence, social disaffection, polluted air and polluted water.

At the recent World Climate Conference in Berlin, our smaller island neighbours in the Pacific voiced real concern about their future due to rising ocean levels from the greenhouse effect. As we sit here in the comfort of this Assembly, more than 600 metres above sea level, the problems faced by the people of those remote island nations seem very remote indeed; but as part of the human community we do have a responsibility towards them as well as to the people of Canberra. The global green movement has grown from local community groups concerned about social justice, peace and the environment. There is growing awareness that it is impossible to tackle these important issues in isolation. The natural and urban environment has a direct effect on people's health and wellbeing, and the way we in turn conduct our daily lives affects our immediate as well as our more distant environment. It is therefore unfortunate that our current economic thinking is based on continued consumption with no thought to the real cost of that consumption to the environment and to social justice.

Mr Speaker, the ACT Greens believe that solutions can be found by combining global awareness with local experience. Finding solutions requires foresight, intelligence, openness, creativity and a good sense of humour. The original plans for Canberra were designed for a city of around 25,000 people. The planning concepts of Marion Mahoney Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin were visionary. Today we are blessed with a city that has a close relationship with the natural environment. However, we have grown to become a city of great distances and low population densities. This low urban density, which was appropriate for a smaller town, poses significant planning challenges. People are often a long way from their local shops, services and families. While suburban businesses struggle to attract sufficient customers, those in our community who are least mobile - the young, the elderly and the frail - have the greatest difficulty getting access to services such as public transport and community health care.

Through sensible urban planning, I believe that we can find the solutions to many of these problems. A healthy city must have a full range of services, must have well planned infrastructure, and must have open space. The Greens support a strengthening of the neighbourhood structure of Canberra. We support the encouragement of greater urban density in areas immediately surrounding existing commercial centres, while protecting the amenity of residents and our bush capital heritage. This would strengthen our neighbourhood shops and make other services more accessible and hence more viable.


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