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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 856 ..

I would love to meet every request for service delivery when it comes, particularly those that are based on such extensive community consultation. The government does listen and it takes community views seriously. We continue to do our best to balance community perspectives and requests with the need to ensure the best possible use of public funds in a responsible and measured way. We have significantly invested in playgrounds, particularly in my time as minister, including upgrades to existing playgrounds, the installation of shade sails at important town and regional parks, and the establishment of a number of nature playgrounds.

I will be supporting Ms Le Couteur and have moved the amendment circulated in my name. My amendment calls upon the government to consider an ongoing way for the maintenance, upgrading and establishment of playgrounds across Canberra, which will be part of the better suburbs project. This is an important addition as, in my experience as both a local member and the minister responsible, these issues raised by the Waramanga community are not unique.

As Ms Le Couteur’s amendment outlines, a number of other communities have also petitioned and lobbied government for new or upgraded playgrounds in their local suburb. It is also worth noting that during the recent community consultation process on the 2018-19 budget the ACT government received 95 submissions from community organisations, stakeholders and business groups. All of these called on the government to fund multiple individual projects and initiatives across our city. The Weston Creek Community Council’s own budget submission included requests for funding for 14 other initiatives in their local community, including the submission for a playground at the Waramanga shops.

It is important to me, as the minister responsible, that the government take a fair and equitable approach to assessing all of these requests. There was significant hard work and consultation done by many of these organisations that have made the 95 submissions to our budget process. This is also part of what our better suburbs project is seeking to deliver. I will continue to encourage all local communities to engage directly in this process and help us better understand their priorities and meet the changing demands of our growing city.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (4.15): I rise to speak in support of this important motion moved by Mr Hanson today. I note, sadly, the attempts from the Greens to water down the motion. I note the attempt by the minister to pretend that she is listening. Well, talking about community consultation, 400 members of a community have already said, “We want this project.” And to say, “Oh, there are projects all over the city that need funding,” well, I’m sorry but I have lived in this area for some time and all across Weston and Woden are falling down playgrounds. I am not saying they are unsafe, but they are way past their use by date. Where is the government’s plan for rejuvenation of these suburbs? They do not have one. They have spent all their effort on supposed rejuvenation of one strip of road between Gungahlin and Civic. Nothing else seems to matter, nothing else seems to take priority. Unless, of course, it has a rainbow painted on it, because then it can be done within five minutes, and Ms Fitzharris knows very well that that is the case.

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