Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5082 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
the Belconnen Lakeshore and Jamison Centre and boosting arts, recreation and culture through funding festivals, sporting and arts experiences.
Through this government's massive effort to develop a comprehensive framework for Canberra, we will make our services more integrated, more co-ordinated and more effective. Government services should be and will be about putting people first.
I welcome this debate on this important motion by Mr Hargreaves which gives me an opportunity to point to the very good work that is going on.
MS DUNDAS (12.03): I just wanted to contribute briefly to this debate. It has been a wide-ranging debate, as one would expect, with such a brief motion to guide us. We are talking about government services, and that does cover every range of what it is we do here in the territory. There are a few points that I would like to make.
In the recognition of the work that the government does need to do in providing government services, it is disappointing that when we look at the budget every year we see an underspend in terms of meeting commitments and in capital works. The government puts forward its vision and says that we will deliver X, Y and Z but, as the next year rolls around, we see massive underspends. That money goes back into consolidated revenue. The promises the government has set are not always being met. I think if we are going to congratulate the government on its provision of government services we need to also recognise that sometimes the government speaks more loudly and delivers less than it actually says it will.
Another area that I am particularly concerned about when we are talking about government services in suburban Canberra is Neighbourhood Watch and crime prevention programs. Year after year we see an actual underspend and a reduction in the number of crime prevention programs that the community is being afforded and that the government is running. Neighbourhood Watch has struggled for a number of years, firstly through insurance issues and then through lack of ongoing support.
I think if we are going to talk about the importance of government services in suburban Canberra one of the issues that have been of much debate in this place and in the community is community safety. How the government supports programs like Neighbourhood Watch is incredibly important, and we need crime prevention programs to support people in their homes.
I would also like to talk about other issues that people bring up with me as important to them in the community, and that includes public transport and parking. We have already had a bit of debate about where bus stops are located and what ACTION is doing, but one of the major issues that people are getting very concerned about is what is happening with the implementation of paid parking throughout our town centres. Belconnen specifically springs to mind.
I have told people that I see pay parking as one part of a broader public transport strategy, but those words are starting to ring hollow when we don't have the commitment from the government to put the money that they will collect from paid parking back into public transport and supporting public transport services so that people do actually see that there is no point in driving their car into their town centre and paying for parking