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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 859 ..

MRS JONES: Well, I think you should talk to some of the shopkeepers who are mopping up people after their disappointment at the opening of that square. The whole community was led to believe it would be a park. There is no grass, there is no play equipment. Businesses had to suffer from the building works going on for months and months on end and there was less access to car parks. That would all be acceptable if there were a good outcome, however, it has all been for some metal chairs and an uninviting concrete maze.

Minister Fitzharris spoke about deliberative democracy. There is no more direct communication with the government than a petition of 400 residents of one suburb saying they want something done in their suburb. There is not even the hint of hope in what the government is doing that this will ever actually be delivered. It is most disappointing for the residents of Waramanga who have put up with enough in the past 12 months. I urge the government to act and actually deliver this playground before it becomes another project where the community made the effort and the government’s tin ear dictated that they would not act.

I commend Mr Hanson’s motion to the Assembly, and I hope that whatever the outcome of today the government will wake up and realise how important this is and deliver it for the people of the ACT and the people of Waramanga.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.25): I thank members for their contributions. It has played out a little bit the way I thought it would, that is, we have a watering down by Ms Le Couteur of what was originally proposed and some words by the minister. But I am hoping that with an amendment I will move shortly that we may get to a position where we achieve what we want. We will see what gets circulated.

I will just go to a number of the points. Mr Steel raised concerns about whether what had been proposed was in accordance with standing orders. I sought advice on that and the advice from the Clerk’s office is that that is in order. I just make the broader point, because it is important, that we call on the government to do things all the time, and most of the things we call on the government to do have a financial implication. So to suggest that, just because it has a financial implication, this Assembly cannot wish or suggest that the government do something is a nonsense. Yes, I am not a minister and I cannot bring in an appropriation bill, but what I can do is call on the government to do something. And we all do it Ms Le Couteur has done it many times and I am sure Mr Steel will do it in the future.

In terms of Ms Le Couteur’s amendment to my motion, I make the point that what we have here is a lot of motherhood words. This is a very clear intent in my motion. We are not talking in the general about playgrounds and whether we like playgrounds or not: that is a bit like asking whether you like kittens. I am sure we all like playgrounds, too. So to come in here and have a speech for 10 minutes on we all like playgrounds is pretty meaningless stuff to be frank. Yes, there is a lot of benefit to playgrounds and we have gone through that, all of us, but what we are focused on here is the playground proposal at Waramanga. That is the nub.

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