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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3736 ..

This Tuesday there was a La Nina alert confirmed for summer. There has been a lot of rain, and it is not going to slow down anytime soon. That is going to have an effect on the mowing schedule. Of course it is. We accept that; we understand that. But this problem with the mowing schedule is not a new problem. Overgrown grass in the suburbs has been an issue year after year, since well before I got into this place. I just quoted from 2008. Every year it is a problem.

We know that we have hardworking people out there mowing. We really appreciate the work that our staff out there do. But they need to be better supported by this government. Every year this government says, “You need to be patient; you need to understand.” It is not good enough. We are a modern city. This is a government that just does not put its priority on the issues that matter out in the suburbs. Whether it is mowing, potholes or the condition of roads, footpaths and so on, we know that this is not a government that pays attention to it.

I was disappointed this morning that when we had an opportunity to work 12 extra days a year to focus the attention of this place on the core business of issues like mowing, those opposite rejected that opportunity. If we had more attention paid to those issues in this place, we could bring to the attention of this government issues raised by community councils, residents associations and members of the community. If we could do that, I think we would have more attention paid to the issues by the government. I really do. It would bring it to their attention. They would probably spend less time debating other matters, but if we had an extra day we would not have to lose other important matters that might need to be debated.

It should be something that matters to this government. It is not just the eyesore aspect; there are some significant safety implications when it comes to snakes in the grass and visibility for road traffic. Let me mention a media article on 16 October in the Canberra Times. It talked about problems with mowing here in the ACT. A couple of people commented. Here is one comment:

Why mention the rain fall and grass growth in Tuggeranong? Parts of Tuggeranong haven’t seen a government mower in two decades! 

Here is another one:

Wollongong has around the same population as Canberra, yet the streets in the suburbs of that city seem to be well mown and there seems to be a sense of civic pride. Canberrans pay phenomenally high rates, which the graph on the rates notice tells us, $2 billion goes on health. So how much comes from Commonwealth Grants, that the ACT Government needs to charge so much for rates, with so little to show for it? Should not a first principle of rates be that the money will be used on rate-related uses—garbage, roads, street cleaning (what a joke) footpaths and football fields? Get the basics right, then spray the rest of the money up the wall on all the social engineering projects.

That is a comment we hear all the time—that this government is not paying enough attention to the local government issues that are so important to Canberrans in the city. It is focused on its inner-city-centric view of the world; it is focused on the “inside the

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