Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 6 August 2015) . . Page.. 2474 ..
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.07): I have a number of items I would like to cover. I thank Mr Rattenbury for mentioning that it is important to engage the community early. I absolutely agree with Mr Rattenbury—that does not happen all that often—but it is not enough just to engage the community early; the idea is to understand the community’s concerns and make them believe their concerns have been heard and addressed in some way or at least reflected back as to why what the community say they want cannot be allocated. What we are looking for in genuine public consultation is discussion, dialogue, discourse, debate and deliberation.
I will use nine examples this afternoon—I will do so quickly because I know others want to speak—that I have encountered over the past six to 12 months as a result of constituents or my shadow portfolio responsibilities that have highlighted to me where there has been a lack of consultation or, at the very least, a lack of genuine public consultation.
The first one I mention is about Theodore shops upgrade. Fabulous—thank you very much for the work done at Theodore shops, but in the consultation process what residents said they wanted, amongst a couple of other things, was a barbecue for their community gatherings at Theodore shops. As we talked about during the estimates process, they did not get a barbecue but quite a large brick sign saying “Theodore shops”. Of course, the residents have pointed out that the bricks used in that sign could have been very well used to build a barbecue. That is one example where the community clearly articulated what they were after and it was completely ignored and something else was done instead.
Second, Chisholm public housing. A number of constituents have contacted me to say that they have not been engaged in any public consultation about that. We have talked before in the Assembly about the fact that this government appears to have just gone for any available land space. They have not engaged with the community and have not analysed what else was required.
The third example happened earlier this year—the closure of Tharwa Drive for roadworks. No-one was suggesting it was not important to build the new emergency services station in south Tuggeranong. What they were annoyed about was the lack of communication and consultation about the road closure.
Fourth, Mocca and Telopea Park School. I will not talk about that because I know my colleague Mr Doszpot is keen to talk about that. Fifth, Northbourne Avenue precinct. There have been some improvements in more recent times, and I express my appreciation to the Minister for Housing for that, but remember in the early days we had a lot of discussion and a lot of talk from residents of Owen Flats and other flats about confusion around the dates and either a lack of communication or conflicting communication and information.
During estimates I gave the example of one resident who had a letter from the Chief Minister, Mr Barr, a letter from the Minister for Housing, Ms Berry, and then a relocation newsletter, and all three of them said different things in the same month. It is no wonder residents of Owen Flats and some of the other properties on the