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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2004) . . Page.. 3734 ..

We have committed ourselves in the Canberra social plan to “respect, diversity and human rights” for all people, and this must be particularly strong for young people. The Canberra community has an expectation that young people should be given the opportunity to reach their potential. As an entire community, we must work together to ensure that young people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, have the opportunity to participate.

The government has worked to respond to youth homelessness in many ways. We have improved service coordination and collaboration, and we have enhanced networking and protocols between government and community. New services have been implemented to respond to identified need. We have ensured that service responses are professional and are focused on breaking cycles of homelessness. We are considering new options and refusing to fall back on old ideas. We owe this to our young people.

Urban environment

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mr Cornwell and Ms Dundas proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Mr Cornwell be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The deterioration of Canberra’s urban environment and the look of the city.

MR CORNWELL (4.24): I was speaking to a constituent the other day who drew my attention to the fact that Northbourne Avenue looked like a Third World country: dirty, neglected and rundown. It occurred to me that, whilst this government runs around looking after bleeding heart issues, bills of rights, antidiscrimination, the Iraq war, illegal economic migrants, Boer War memorials, even reducing the road width for bike paths and—if I may say, Mr Speaker—taking 12 pages to talk about a response to calls for a youth night centre, the city is falling apart.

If you doubt that comment, I refer you to the Urban Services portfolio June 2004 quarterly performance report for the output Canberra Urban Parks and Places. The original target for the number of public reports regarding dead and fallen branches, dying or dead trees and other safety issues was 7,000. The actual result was 9,914, or 142 per cent against the target. Increased workload has resulted in some delays, which we understand.

The number of regulatory investigations has risen from 13,000 to 15,108, including December and March quarters, relating to abandoned vehicles in the Woden-Weston Creek area and an increase in public reports from inner north residents about overhanging trees and line of sight issues. For graffiti removal the original target was 95 per cent, and the actual result was 85 per cent. Why? It was due to increased graffiti activity around the Canberra region. I am not surprised. As figures from questions on notice indicate, requests for removal of graffiti have gone up from 130 requests between January and June last year to 215 in the July to December period.

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