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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (22 May) . . Page.. 1629 ..


Debate resumed from 14 December 1995, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MS McRAE (3.51): I think the Assembly should take note of the paper. Our opinion is that it is a very good report. It began when we were in government, I believe. It has some very sound practical, commonsense approaches. The standard application of the measures that are outlined in this report should go way beyond Civic, in terms of designing out crime and designing out bits and pieces of the city that are clearly easier for people to commit offences in than others. All we can say is: Hurry up; get on with it. There is full community support, there is full Assembly support, and there is no need for much further debate.

MR WOOD (3.52): I am interested in speaking in this debate because I was in there at the beginning. I recall attending a briefing session in a building nearby when people who had been carefully sourced from the community went, with their check lists, out into the streets around Civic and the back lanes and the corners here, there and everywhere, and pointed to all the areas of difficulty - what was dark, where the pavements were bad, all sorts of things. They went in a variety of groups, with different people in each group; so there were not three young people going into one area but business people, young people, public servants, a whole range of people, to assess the difficult areas around the city.

Now, some time later, in stage two the report has come down, pointing out what improvements ought to be made to the design of Civic to make it a better place. Stage three is actually doing something. Stage three is getting there, getting on with it, and attending to those areas of difficulty - whether it is poor lights, opening up an area, better paving, removing some of the landscape that might obscure things, or putting landscape somewhere else to improve the site. These are the things that now need to be done.

I took the view as Minister that Civic needed to be a safer place. I think it is good advice to any person to stay out of the back alleys in the early hours of the morning - not advice that everybody takes, it seems; but there is a great deal that can be done. At the same time, there were other processes in place to work towards making Civic the cultural heart of Canberra, so that this precinct where we are becomes a focus for entertainment, for the arts. I think there is still active consideration being given to that concept. I will not get into any other discussion at this stage. These are very important processes to work through to improve the city.

I wish that there was a better process to remove the unsightly graffiti. I know that the Minister will claim that he has been working at that, but it is something of an intractable problem. I think our city is, by most standards, blighted by the graffiti. It can look very untidy, despite the persistent efforts of some, including shopowners, to keep their area clear. I wish that we could find some safe and easy solvent that would get the chewing gum off the paved areas and other areas adjacent to shops. Many of the shopkeepers

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