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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2045 ..


under-investigated. You just have to see some of the social media pages of various suburban groups around Canberra to see people reporting that their dogs have been attacked, and in some cases killed, by other dogs, in some cases with other dogs coming onto their own property and killing their dog.

This comes down to staffing pressures at domestic animal services as well as weak dangerous dog laws. We are just not backing up the staff who work in that area appropriately. We have found now in this budget that the long-promised staff increases do not appear to be there. Last year, the minister was on, I think, ABC Radio, talking about doubling the front-line staffing at domestic animal services. This appears to be a bit of a cruel hoax on that hardworking front-line staff. This budget actually announced two additional animal rangers. It is also a deceit of the public, who increasingly do not report roaming dangerous and menacing dogs anymore because they know that nothing will be done, because of a lack of support and resources in that area.

On a different matter, over eight years the number of kilometres of street sweeping has decreased. It declined in real terms up to 2016. Conveniently, then the government stopped reporting the kilometres swept in annual reports. Whilst we have additional kilometres of streets because of more and more suburbs, in real terms, street sweeping has declined.

This is not only a visual amenity and safety issue. I hear from elderly people especially, and in some particular suburbs, about leaf litter making it dangerous for pedestrians. It results in dangerous roads and clogged drains. Of course, that adds to the organic load in our lakes. That leads to more public risks, as our lakes are then dangerous for swimming and are closed because of algal blooms. We saw the devastating effect of neglected stormwater assets in the recent February flooding, soon after an Auditor-General’s report on this very topic of the handover of stormwater assets.

Over the past few years the government is gradually squeezing funding from street sweeping even though we have more roads and footpaths, and more people using them. It is also nearly impossible for Canberrans to get streetlights fixed in a timely manner. Many Canberrans wait three months or so to get a single streetlight fixed. It might not seem to matter, it might not seem like a big deal, but for some people it is very much a safety issue. If that light is the one you depend on to walk safely in your street or put your bin out, it does matter. If it is the light that makes the walk home from the bus stop safe, it does matter. And at this time of the year, when it is darker earlier, more and more people are walking home from the bus stop or from the shops in the dark because of the winter hours. People report them, and they take a long time. I get a number of emails about this. I encourage people to report via fix my street; I report things myself via fix my street. People come to me when the fix my street request has not been acted upon for quite some time.

We expect and deserve to have safe and attractive suburban surrounds, especially when rates are at record levels. This week’s budget has confirmed that the ACT government is collecting the cash. The general neglect of local services is therefore inexcusable.


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