Page 3174 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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It is particularly important in terms of young people—youth who might not have the same access to all the sophisticated types of learning equipment as their counterparts in wealthier areas in Canberra might have. There is a significant aged population, too, who benefit from the current library and who will benefit from the new and enhanced library. I think it is crucially important that there are programs to cater for those people in terms of this particular facility. I commend those remarks to the Assembly.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.26): The Greens welcome the opening of the new Kippax library. The library has been housed in temporary facilities since 1978. The Kippax community has gone through a long and rocky process to obtain a permanent facility.

I congratulate the current ACT government on being the government to finally deliver a permanent library facility at Kippax. Perhaps, though, it is taking credit which could also be attributed elsewhere. A quick trawl through Hansard shows us that the people of west Belconnen, led by the Kippax taskforce, have been lobbying successive governments for 12 years to turn their temporary library into a permanent one. While Ms Porter suggests that we congratulate the government on the development of a permanent Kippax library, I think it is more important that we recognise the extraordinary effort that the community has invested in convincing consecutive governments to deliver a permanent library.

I think that we should also recognise the effort of previous crossbenchers, Kerrie Tucker and Roslyn Dundas, who have campaigned on this issue during their terms. It was Roslyn Dundas’s motion of 12 March 2003 that resulted in the Stanhope government’s making a commitment to build the new Kippax library.

In regard to part 2 of the motion, I find it ironic that the government seeks to applaud its own efforts in undertaking community consultation during the planning process when the entire project has been community driven. Nonetheless, for the purpose of encouraging the government to consult with the community on major public projects, let the record show that the ACT Greens acknowledge the work of the government in conducting public meetings and seeking community feedback on an options paper to ensure that the community could contribute to the design of the new library.

The government’s 2004-2005 action plan for young people contained a clear commitment to consult with young people on the development of the new library facilities in Kippax and in the production of public art for the shopping centre refurbishment. I am concerned that the government did not live up to this promise, as I cannot find any evidence to indicate that this consultation took place.

I refer the government to one of the findings of the group that was set up. The Kippax library and Belconnen region services study commented that the provision of services specifically for young people was a constant theme of the consultation process. While principals were consulted, I am sure that any young person will tell you that principals do not always think the same as young people and that not all young people go to school. Perhaps in her closing comments, Ms Porter could provide us with an indication as to whether any consultation with young people did occur; and, if so, the manner in which it was conducted.

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