Page 2636 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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otherwise, seems to have chosen a different path—slightly to the left, but a different path nonetheless.

I do have to mention the arboretum, the big tree park. There are a number of aspects of the urban services budget that are of concern. My colleagues have spoken of the problems they see with the inability of the ACT government to adequately fund the arboretum. The Chief Minister has spoken at length on the wonderful legacy he believes that the tree park will be. There is no doubt that this area of the budget will blow out. We have had reference to $20 million and $12 million—the government does not really know—and to having to charge people 20 bucks and getting 600,000 people coming through. The figures are all over the place. Mark my words: in the coming years the cost will not be $12 million; it will be significantly more. The people of Canberra will be paying for this thing for a long time.

I am aware that the National Botanic Gardens in Canberra has an annual operating budget in the order of $8.2 million. The proposed arboretum supposedly will be one of the foremost gardens of the world, according to the Chief Minister, and there is to be only $800,000 for operating costs. One has to wonder about the ability of this government to deliver this arboretum on time, within budget and to anything like the standard that they seem to be suggesting it will reach.

I turn to the issue of parking enforcement and some of the other initiatives in urban services. There is $140,000 for additional parking compliance. I recall Mrs Dunne speaking at length earlier in the year about issues with the current parking system in the ACT, with a voucher system that currently penalises those who get caught in a queue in the bank or perhaps a queue in a Canberra Connect shopfront, one area in which Mr Hargreaves might seek to wield the axe when he has to get rid of those 80 jobs.

Hiring additional parking officers seems to be an attempt by this government to fine and tax the people of Canberra in order to balance the budget. It seems to me that they are trying to pinch an extra $68 out of our pockets a couple of extra times every year in order to make up for the fact that they are $91 million in the red this year. It also troubles me, and I am sure many Canberrans, to see that the government is ramping up its fines and the number of fines that it hands out for parking infringements at the same time as Mr Corbell is reducing the amount of car parking available, especially in the city area. That is a constant complaint I receive from members of the community, yet we have Mr Hargreaves fining everyone in sight and Mr Corbell getting rid of car spaces at an alarming rate.

Another issue with urban services had to do with ovals around the ACT being allowed to die, the shortage of ovals in Gungahlin and the lack of planning. Apparently Mr Hargreaves has been rolled in relation to ovals in Harrison. As opposed to what he did in the housing area, Mr Hargreaves actually asked for the money but was rolled on it. That is disappointing because, as I have said before, Gungahlin is an area bursting at the seams with young people. It is an area that does not have a lot of private open space. It is an area that does not have as much public open space as the rest of Canberra. So it seems to be a terrible use of resources not only to let some ovals die but also not to adequately fund the provision of extra open space and extra ovals in expanding areas of Gungahlin. I know that junior soccer teams are reporting that home games are being played in Belconnen as there are too many teams in Gungahlin compared to the ovals available.

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