Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3737 ..
beltway” issues it is fascinated by. Members opposite will talk about issues like energy, but when it comes to the matters that matter so much to people living in our suburbs, you see that this all seems very tedious for those opposite.
I commend the motion. I commend Ms Lawder for bringing it forward today and for the work that she has done in her area, in Tuggeranong, to advocate for this. If those opposite do not think it is important, let me say that we do. We will continue to advocate for these sorts of issues, be it mowing, potholes or other less glamorous things that this lot opposite do not want to talk about but that matter so much to members of our community.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (4.04): I welcome the opportunity to speak on this motion about our government’s ongoing investments in our annual mowing program. Members would admit, by looking out of the window at the moment, that we are well and truly set for a wet summer, following a very wet spring and a very wet winter. It is the seventh wettest winter on record. If we needed confirmation of this, the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed it for us on Tuesday, when La Nina conditions were officially declared.
I want to put on record just how much this is a priority for the government to invest in maintaining our parks and open spaces, including through regular mowing activities. This was not reflected in the motion that has now been moved by Mr Hanson.
During my speech on the budget yesterday, I tabled the Better Suburbs progress update for 2021-22, outlining how community priorities are being met through government investment. One of those priorities was to continue ensuring that suburbs are kept tidy and looking their best. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, suburbs and open spaces are mown every four weeks, with arterial roads mown every five weeks between September and March.
We have a team of 73 mowers, which have mown 72,000 hectares in the last two seasons—about 68 hectares per mower, per month. Our government has recognised this priority with additional resourcing when it is needed. During last year’s mowing season, I announced $2.1 million in surge funding to boost mowing, weeding and following up amenity maintenance capacity. This saw additional staff and mowers come on board, and meant that we could undertake even more regular mowing.
Those who are interested in knowing when their suburb will be mown can go to cityservices.gov.au and search for the mowing map. Each mower now has a GPS tracker that allows Canberrans to view a live mowing map for our city, updated in real time.
Contrary to Mr Hanson’s motion, the spring mowing program commenced on 13 September and has consistently ramped up operations in accordance with COVID-safe plans and resource availability. Preparations for the mowing season commenced even earlier, in July 2021, and included the completion of training, undertaking mechanical and safety device services on all vehicles, and performance testing of supporting equipment.