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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 7 June 2018) . . Page.. 2208 ..

In the last 15 years there has been a significant increase in the number of suburban lakes and ponds across Canberra. The budget allows for an increase in lake and pond cleaning to improve the health and amenity of our waterways and encourage more recreation around our lakes and ponds.

The budget also delivers on our election commitment to plant additional trees over the next four years in the urban environment and deliver an adopt-a-park program. The 1,330 additional tree plantings will improve Canberra’s overall unique green canopy cover and help to cool our suburbs. The adopt-a-park program will provide small grants for local volunteer groups to achieve cleaner, greener local parks and open spaces.

A comprehensive program will also improve the cleanliness of bus shelters, continue the graffiti management program which assists in reducing illegal graffiti across Canberra and increase responsiveness to tree-related public inquiries.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how will Canberrans have a say on how and where this local community infrastructure is allocated?

MS FITZHARRIS: We had a discussion yesterday, and I am pleased to also note that the better suburbs program will set the vision and priorities for improved city services over the next four years and beyond in the form of a community-authored better suburbs statement.

The first stage of consultation last year highlighted services and features most important to our community. The next stage of consultations is through “kitchen table conversations”, which will be encouraged amongst families, friends, communities and neighbourhood stakeholder groups to gain a deeper understanding of community need. Hosting kits will be available to download or pick up in hard copy later on this month.

A representative citizens forum panel consisting of 40 community members and 25 senior representatives of community stakeholder groups, government and industry will identify and plan for the right mix of city services. Four thousand Canberrans have already received invitations to participate in the panel, and we look forward to those discussions getting underway later this year.

The feedback from both consultation activities, the initial survey last year and the kitchen table discussions, will be shared with the panel members at upcoming citizens forums in late July and August of this year.

I will also be asking the better suburbs citizens forum to directly allocate $1.9 million set aside in this year’s budget for playgrounds and local community improvement projects. This will be the first trial of real-life participatory budgeting. Work will start on those projects after the better suburbs statement is released in September of this year, with further improvements to be based on the community-identified vision and priorities for the next four years and beyond.

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