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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 31 July 2018) . . Page.. 2375 ..


playground. I can probably say, without verballing anyone, that we all thought that Waramanga had a good case for a playground. I do not think that is in question here.

During that debate I went to some lengths to point out that debating in the Assembly which playground should be funded, rather than another one, was not the way to do this. I pointed out that we had a limited amount of ACT government budget money to spend and that it needed to be allocated on a basis other than just convincing an MLA that they should move a motion on it. I spoke at length about how this was not the appropriate process, despite my appreciation of the good case that the people of Waramanga, and in particular Elizabeth Hoyt, as Mr Hanson mentioned, have put for this.

As Mr Hanson said, a late amendment by him was agreed on the floor of the Assembly with Minister Fitzharris. I then saw no point in disagreeing. My statements had been fairly clear as to what I thought was an appropriate process. As I do think it is a reasonable place for a playground, if the minister had decided that she was going to commit to a playground in Waramanga, I was not going to stand up and say, “You shouldn’t commit to it.” I think I made my position regarding the process fairly clear. A process of moving motions in the Assembly to determine the priorities for playgrounds across the ACT is not a good process. I said that at that the time, and I stand by those comments.

Having said that, I think that the process that Minister Fitzharris outlined in her statement is, without a doubt, a better process. I think it is very regrettable that we went through the debate that we went through in the Assembly earlier. I think that the expectation that was quite reasonably formed by members of the community as a result of that motion is very unfortunate. I agree with Mr Hanson’s comments about the potential finding that there has been a misleading of the Assembly. I do not think we went through a good process at all.

The process, as I said, that Minister Fitzharris has outlined for the future would appear to be a much better process. As members will remember, the Greens have been big supporters of deliberative democracy. I am very pleased that we did the citizens jury process. Members will remember that last year we passed a motion talking about participatory budgeting methods being used for about 20 per cent of the TCCS budget. I believe that the process that Minister Fitzharris is talking about is a direct result of that. It is part of how we are going to do deliberative democracy and participatory budgeting.

The comments that Mr Hanson has just made really go to the heart of why we need a better process than what we have had in the past. What we have done in the past has created unreasonable expectations and hurt, and has pitted one community against another.

I would point out, on this particular process, that I am aware that Weston Creek Community Council does have a representative in the citizens group. I would be confident that Elizabeth Hoyt and the people of Waramanga would be in an excellent position to ensure that the virtues of their proposal are well and truly canvassed as part of the deliberative democracy exercise that the minister has outlined.


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