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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 25 November 2021) . . Page.. 3738 ..

Mowing services are now operating at full capacity. However, we ask for the community’s patience as we continue this extremely wet mowing season. Seasonal conditions have temporarily caused grass growth to exceed the capacity of our mowing teams. If rainfall persists over the next few days, this may be the wettest November on record in the ACT, following the seventh wettest winter on record and a very wet June.

Recent and expected further rainfall, combined with warming weather, are producing conditions conducive to vigorous vegetation growth and grass growth across the city. This is temporarily challenging the ability of crews to maintain grassed areas. In these cases we prioritise safety-related mowing to ensure line of sight along roads and that essential access is maintained. This may mean that we only mow part of an area, the section that is the highest priority, and return to the remaining area at a later time.

Mr Assistant Speaker, even with the best-laid plans, you cannot mow a lawn when it is wet. It is not safe for the drivers, it damages the equipment and it churns up the ground, as any home gardener can tell you. In such cases, “Be right back” signage, letting the community know that it is too wet to mow, has been installed to notify the community that the area is simply too wet to mow.

I do not think Mr Hanson will be going out this afternoon to mow his front lawn. If he does, come and see me; we can give him a job! It is simply too wet for our mowers to get out there, and all of those rainy days are lost days in the mowing program. Despite all of that, our mowing crews are doing an incredible job in doing their best to get out and mow whenever it stops raining, to keep on top of the strong growth supported by this rain that we have seen. It really does not matter how many mowers you have; on a rainy day, you just cannot mow. That is a simple fact.

Even with the significant number of rain-affected days when mowing could not occur and with the vigorous growth that we have seen, our teams are currently running a week or two behind schedule, which is pretty good when you consider the combined impact of the La Nina weather conditions and of the COVID-19 lockdown on every sector of the ACT, including this one. I would like to thank our mowers and contractors for the work that they have been doing during this close-to-unprecedented rainfall. We will see in the coming days whether it is in fact unprecedented, which is, I know, a point that Ms Lawder has chosen to debate in the past.

Touching on other aspects of the motion, I want to highlight that TCCS does have existing standard operating procedures and policies relating to environmental care, especially for stormwater and waterway contamination, as well as for controlling weeds. While it is not practicable to catch all grass clippings, other measures are taken to reduce the impact of nutrients on our waterways. While operating near stormwater drains or culverts, mowers keep their discharge direction facing away from the drain and take immediate action in the case of a spill or leak. When it comes to weeding, mowers prioritise working from clean areas towards infested areas in order to minimise the risk of weeds spreading. TCCS teams always clean their mower, trailer and towing vehicle when leaving a weed-infested area.

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