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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2899 ..

already been involved in the design and in suggesting amenities through the online survey and face-to-face consultation, the latter of which I was pleased to attend and see so many interested people at in early June.

We Belconnen residents will also finally have a completed pathway around Lake Ginninderra. The budget allocates funds to construct the boardwalk around the lakeside of the Belconnen Arts Centre. Currently, we do have a path, but it takes you right onto the road, whereas the jewel in Belconnen town centre and Belconnen overall is obviously the lake, and being closer to the lake is very important. It will make a huge difference for those of us who use the lake every day, whether we are travelling around it or using it recreationally, and it will improve community engagement with the Belconnen Arts Centre, an important institution in Belconnen. It is a small thing, but lake users have been asking for it and about it for at least as long as I have lived in the town centre. Once again this government has listened.

These initiatives are a few examples of how we will create livelier public spaces in our town centres, opening them up to more activity and making them even more attractive to locals and visitors alike.

It is not just about our town centres; our suburbs will also see improvements. Our neighbourhood ovals and playgrounds will be upgraded to create better spaces for sports, exercise and play. We will be spending $2.8 million over four years to improve playing fields and ovals across Canberra. A further $2.2 million has been allocated to Higgins neighbourhood oval in my electorate. The oval will soon have new turf, a new irrigation system, lighting and a pavilion with toilet facilities. These upgrades will go a long way towards keeping up with the demand that is growing in west Belconnen, as well as encouraging more locals to participate in sports.

As we have heard from many members today, playgrounds are a serious concern for our youngest Canberrans and their families. They are a place to get some fresh air and make new friends. They also play an important role in mental and physical development. Here in Canberra we are lucky to enjoy over 500—I think it is 512 or 514—excellent playgrounds that are safe and fun to use. But to ensure that they stay that way, these playgrounds require maintenance, sometimes due to vandalism but sometimes due to age. This budget earmarks $300,000 for fixing up high priority playgrounds. These funds will make sure that we can respond to complaints more quickly and keep our playgrounds safe for our young Canberrans.

At least a further $1 million will be allocated to playgrounds through the better suburbs citizens forum. Sixty-five members of the community are deciding how and where the money should be spent, either to upgrade existing playgrounds or build new ones. The citizens forum will also empower members of our community to decide exactly where our effort and expenditure on city services should go. This is a significant step forward in civic engagement. The ACT government is not just listening to Canberrans about what city services they want; we are letting them directly decide how the funds are going to be spent.

Mr Parton interjecting

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