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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 933 ..

This editorial in the Canberra Times was from 9 January 2012, nearly 10 years ago. This government has not learned its lesson, despite there being issues about mowing year after year.

In 2006 the Canberra Times reported more rain than the long-term average. In 2007 the Canberra Times reported double the December average rain. In 2011 the Canberra Times said, “We have never seen a season like it.” In 2012 a Canberra Times editorial said, “The 2011-12 summer was the 14th wettest on record.” In 2014 the Canberra Weekly reported “the significant growth this season of the grass”. In 2020 the RiotACT reported on “years of drought followed by this year’s big wet” and said, “the recent wet weather means longer grass”, from Mr Gentleman.

This is not a new problem. In the city services portfolio, we see an erosion of services over time, followed by an injection of funds to make it look as though the government is doing something. We never seem to get back to where we were originally. How many more years of these mowing backlogs are we going to see?

Residents are concerned about fire safety. They are concerned about snakes. They are concerned about the proliferation of weeds from the seeds that get spread around, not to mention the visual amenity of their neighbourhoods, which look really tatty and neglected when this government fails to cut the grass.

How many more budget debates will we have before the government starts listening to, and addressing, the concerns of residents? (Second speaking period taken.) It would be nice for the government to address residents’ concerns. It would be nice if they had a more integrated approach so that, when reports are made via Access Canberra, via the Fix My Street portal, residents get a real response about when something is going to be addressed. For years we have heard excuses from this government about why it is not happening—about two different systems and therefore there being a failure to complete the feedback loop to residents.

When someone reports something on Fix My Street, they do not understand why it is incumbent on them to continue to check whether the issue has been fixed and to lodge another request if it has not been fixed. I am quite a frequent user of Fix My Street myself. I find it frustrating when I have to keep reporting the same issue over and over again, even though Fix My Street seems to regard it as a closed issue.

It would be great if the government did more about abandoned local shops. This is another key reason why residents get upset. If you are lucky enough to have local shops, there are also neglected shops and shops that look run down.

How many more of these issues are we going to encounter before this government starts taking city services seriously? How many more years of complaints will we have about basic local services. This government should be addressing these municipal issues. It should be one of the very first steps for the government to address. I look forward to the day when this may begin to be the case.

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