Page 3173 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005
front of the stairs to the library. It is a real concern to a number of residents, including the people on the Kippax taskforce who have laboured long and hard for the interests of west Belconnen for well over a decade, at least to my knowledge—and probably longer in some instances. That is something that I would commend to the government to rectify because that is still causing concerns.
Yes, there is concern as to exactly where the library is. Would it have been better where it existed? I suppose the benefit of not doing that, of course, is that the old library continues. That probably was a better site. However, we have a library. I think everyone can be grateful for that.
We still do not have a master plan for Kippax. I think it is far too early to trumpet any real interest in the area by a new government; you are merely continuing on with a decision taken by the previous government. But, to your credit, you are doing that.
What you have not done, apart from not having a master plan, is not proceed with a couple of other matters in train, namely, some tennis courts at the old Charnwood high school site and the skateboard park which was to be in the 2002-03 budget, which was taken out and which, despite repeated requests by me and others on this side, is not going to occur as far as you lot are concerned. I would still commend that to you. It does not necessarily have to go on the site we picked. There are probably some rather good sites around Kippax itself. I certainly commend those two matters to you.
I was at least pleased to see, although it was alarming to start with, funding for the Uniting Church, which does some have wonderful programs there for a number of people. It had some programs under threat. The funding was finishing on 30 June. It was only about $40,000 that was needed. I know, Ms Porter, you were very active, as was I, in terms of trying to make sure the government continued that. Yes, the government has. I do not know how safe that funding is but at least those programs are able to continue.
There are some real needs for this area still in terms of a master plan, in terms of facilities for youth and in terms of surety for some of those good programs, in an area that is probably the lowest socio-economic area in Canberra, to be able to continue to support the people of that area. I think all of us, certainly those people who represent the area, need to keep on hammering this government to ensure that those programs are not neglected and the area is not neglected. I am not going to reflect on any debates in relation to Ginninderra district high—we have had those—but there are issues in relation to that as well.
We note your motion, Ms Porter. I do note, however, and want to draw to the attention of the Assembly the factual inaccuracies in some of the things you say. One positive to come out of this, regardless of the rights of wrongs of where exactly it is, is that it is going to be a significant library. I certainly hope that the opening hours will be adequate.
I note the Kippax taskforce, the Belconnen Community Council and other people have always been concerned that the opening hours should be something like Dickson’s, which I believe used to be around 50. I am not too sure what they are now. I certainly hope that the opening hours will be commensurate with other similar libraries around the territory so that it does give a proper service to the people.