Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3321 ..
Government ministers can lecture us all they like but the Canberra community know that they are being taken for a ride. I dare to mention again the community contributions consultation period, for example. Despite the minister outlining that consultation would be available on the government’s your say website, that never happened. Our local communities deserve far better than this with regard to consultation.
Another feature outlined in the government’s plans is activating public spaces in Tuggeranong. Like many other residents of Brindabella, I am sceptical about what that actually means. I have many constituents in Brindabella contact me through my office, at shopping centres and when I am out doorknocking who have pleaded with me to ask the government to finally get something done in Tuggeranong. One of the suggestions from a gentleman whom I doorknocked recently was that the most notable activation of public spaces in Tuggeranong has been done by outlaw motorcycle gangs. I am not sure that I concur with him but I can see where he was coming from. That is not the sort of activation the minister speaks of. Tuggeranong residents are sick of being treated like second-class citizens and taken for granted by their Labor MLAs.
There is also talk about renewal of the Woden and Belconnen town centres. I have held a number of talks with local residents who spend a large amount of time trying to convince the government that something of substance needs to be done about these town centres. Again this week the Woden community council expressed its displeasure at the changes announced by the planning minister last week, which they believe favour developers over people.
We congratulate the government on finally creating the position of Chief Engineer and the appointment of same. It is a mystery to us why this had not been done sooner but it is refreshing to see us moving forward in this space. I also commend the minister and Chief Planner Ben Ponton at least for their rhetoric on simplifying the Territory Plan. I have heard from Mr Ponton on a number of occasions about his perfect vision for reducing the size of the Territory Plan to a one-pager. Although I do not expect us ever to arrive at this point, I note his and the minister’s genuine will to simplify this and other associated documents. There is a process being undertaken now and we look forward to some movement in that space.
On a broader planning level which straddles Treasury and other portfolios, I am dismayed at this government’s blind push to densification at all costs and the all-encompassing narrative that the only real way for growth is up. Although it may fit the economic imperatives of this government, I for one do not believe that it lines up with the vision of most Canberrans. I refer again to the Winton report, which very clearly suggested that, given a choice, most Canberrans would be living in a standalone house and not a unit or an apartment.
This government must be continually embarrassed by the former Labor Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, who is consistently in the public space asking why his party is abandoning the dreams of Canberra families who wish to live in a standalone house in this rabid push for densification and to somehow turn Canberra into Singapore or New York. While the bus debate was on last week I saw a really funny comment come up