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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3566 ..

Another example where we are seeing activity without a lot of real outcomes is the government’s plan to finalise the play space strategy. Not long ago, the government undertook major consultation and produced lots of glossy brochures for the Better Suburbs forum, which incorporated a dedicated playgrounds component.

We all appreciate how important it is to have safe, accessible and fun play spaces in our suburbs, but I also speak to residents regularly that tell me their local playground is in desperate need of repair or upgrade. It would be nice to get on with the job based on the feedback that we in this place get every day. Get on with the job of upgrading our neighbourhood playgrounds.

With respect to suburban maintenance and basic services, Madam Speaker, I would like to quote Charlie, aged seven, who visited Canberra. He wrote to the Canberra Times, saying:

The parks in Canberra are very untidy. There is too much long grass to walk through to get to the playgrounds or skate parks.

Does that resonate with you? Do you hear about that from residents? Charlie wrote this to the Canberra Times in 2012, and it is disappointing to see how little things have changed in the nine years since then. If Charlie came to visit Canberra again today, I wonder whether he would feel there has been any improvement regarding the points that he made.

I note that in the Planning, Transport and City Services Standing committee inquiry into the budget, there were several recommendations relating to suburban maintenance. For example, recommendation 17 states:

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government match mowing services to the prevailing weather conditions including services in very wet years.

That must ring a bell because we have had a very wet year—in fact, a very wet November—but it does not appear that we have changed our mowing patterns to meet the changing weather patterns. Recommendation 18 states:

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government investigate alternative mowing solutions.

I hope the minister decides to listen to these recommendations and act on them, not to continue to sweep under the rug these concerns that people such as Charlie, then aged seven, pointed out.

Wanting to live in a tidy suburb is not a big ask. People take pride in their suburbs, and the nicer their suburbs are, the more they take pride on them. The messier their suburbs are, the less pride they take in them and the more likely you are to see graffiti and litter. When the government plays their part, residents step up to match it.

Wanting to drive on roads that are not pocked with potholes is not a big ask. Wanting to walk on footpaths without trip hazards is not a big ask. Wanting to remove a dead tree on your street, either in the walkway next to your house or a street tree, is not a

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