Page 1904 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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The reality for Canberra families is that if their costs are higher than their incomes, it is the luxuries, like holidays, that they have to forgo.

I would like to say a few words on youth and the budget. Quamby Youth Detention Centre remains a very visible blot on the government’s reputation due to its failure to meet the needs of our youth. It was somewhat amusing to read in the media releases that $1.4 million over four years for security might reduce the risk of young people re-offending. I am sure that if we keep them in jail, they will not re-offend, but I would have thought that stopping people from re-offending probably involves a little bit more than that, such as rehabilitation and the like. It is quite an interesting, novel approach to stopping re-offending.

The people of my electorate of Molonglo have every right to feel let down by this budget. As well as the increased costs of parking their cars and the ever-shrinking number of spaces available, Gungahlin residents are going to have to wait even longer for the road that they have been promised. This budget delivers even longer delays for delivery of the road and even longer delays for Gungahlin residents on their trip to work every morning. As the wait for the construction of the road gets longer and the population in Gungahlin increases, the decision of this government to construct only one lane each way on the GDE is looking worse and worse. There is the prospect that, by the time the road is finished, it will be little more than a car park during peak hours, and it is possible that this government might end up paying for four lanes of road and building only two.

I drew the community’s attention to the lack of ovals in Gungahlin in the lead-up to the budget. At a time when the sporting clubs of Gungahlin are crying out for places to play sports and numbers of registrations are growing, I am disappointed that no money could be found for these important facilities. The residents of Gungahlin deserve the same access to facilities as residents in other areas of Canberra. It was interesting to hear Mr Hargreaves’s comments in the lead-up to the budget. He said something along the lines of, “Well, why would we build more ovals? We would just have to water them.” It goes to the failure of this government’s water strategy, and it also shows the government’s complete disregard for the people of Gungahlin.

This is a booming area. It has the largest percentage of young people in the city. At a time of increasing rates of childhood obesity, Gungahlin has less private open space than anywhere else in Canberra and less public open space than anywhere else in Canberra and the government refuses to increase the number of ovals. It is a simple thing that could be done to improve the lives of people in Gungahlin and to improve the health outcomes for young people in Gungahlin and it is something they refuse to do. That is a particular disappointing outcome.

Water extraction charges will hit families. We cannot live without water, as we all know. This government always touts itself as defending the weak, the vulnerable and the poor. What is more basic than the need for water? Yet they are going to pump more out of ordinary families for their average water needs, water to bathe their children, for drinking and to water their gardens. This is very difficult to justify on equity grounds. It will hit ordinary families.

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