Page 2259 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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ask, “Can’t something be done?” I have seen vandalised cars abandoned for more than 12 hours at a time, and sometimes for up to 24 or 48 hours. Clearly the owners cannot come and take them because they are rendered not driveable. This is something the government needs to attend to.

The problems with the condition of this city do not end there. Let us talk about littering. It was revealed in The Canberra Times on 6 June that the ACT has the highest littering rate in the country. Even worse, 50 per cent of this litter is from cigarette smokers. There has been a program enacted to try to tackle this but we have a long way to go. Certainly it looks disgusting, and it simply adds to the negative landscape sight that we seem to have. I believe the former shadow minister for urban services, Mr Cornwell, brought the government’s attention to this issue as well, yet nothing has been done by this government.

That problem has been around for a long time, and a lot of work has been done to address and put to the government the details of those sorts of problems. Why is the government not enforcing the Litter Act as harshly against smokers as they are against charity bin dumpers, given that cigarette butts certainly make up a significant part of the disrupted, dirty landscape that we all see around us? I suppose that, because the government is worried about losing votes at the next election, they will not crack down on this type of behaviour.

I note that the tidy up awards being launched by Keep Australia Beautiful in Canberra this month will target graffiti and rubbish. This is a good thing, but let us not see that type of program replace any other form of government initiative. The government needs to drive harder at these issues in tandem with these types of programs. We do not want to see one replacing the other. It is one thing for the government to sort out rubbish and vandalism, but yet another thing to expect the community to pick up after the government when they do not give precedence to urban management themselves.

The minister needs to take more responsibility for ensuring that the city is looking a lot cleaner. There is a range of other issues that we do not have time to go into. I would like to see some action taken. The Stanhope government should be setting an example for the rest of the country to follow. Clearly this minister is not fulfilling that obligation. Let us see some action taken now.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.39): I thank Mr Pratt for that sanctimonious pontification that he is becoming well known for. I will address a couple of things Mr Pratt mentioned before I speak substantively to the MPI. He talked about Chisholm oval. He has trotted that one out quite a few times. He does not understand, of course, that we have spoken to the residents down there as well. I have had one of the people from my office go down and talk to the people at Chisholm, walk the oval with them and explain to them the regime about restoration of the ovals across town. Guess what? They understand the drought; they understand the difficulties we are going through and they said to us, “Can you get something done about the broken glass?” We said, “Certainly; we will get it done now.” Everybody is happy because, unlike Mr Pratt, they understand that these are difficult times.

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