Page 4324 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005

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I know that Mr Hargreaves has a pretty good sense of humour and he may have thrown in a few provisions here to provide entertainment to the Assembly, but it beggars belief that anyone would come to this Assembly in 2005 and put forward legislation like this and seriously expect it to be supported. The whole affair would be quite amusing, except for the fact that so many other issues have been identified. Mr Pratt has identified a host of problems about the look of our city. We have identified issues that really are appropriate for urban services, such as the state of our roads and the failed lighting in so many areas. It seems staggering that this is the best Mr Hargreaves can do with those people.

As I came down Yamba Drive on the weekend and looked at the median strip on Adelaide Avenue, I thought we were creating a new nature park in the city. The place is overgrown; it is in an appalling state of appearance. I would like to see resources and the time of the Assembly being put into improving the appearance of our city and concentrating on things that actually do concern people, rather than being devoted to these extraneous pursuits because somebody in an agency has been pursuing this issue since at least 2001.

I suppose you can make out a case for anything in terms of legislation in extreme cases, but the fact of the matter is that this is one of the least credible initiatives ever taken. I am staggered that the government is struggling now with legislative reform to dream up anything of any consequence that is important to the people of Canberra and has to resort to this sort of initiative. It flies in the face of ongoing needs of our community and areas that are requiring critical attention, especially the administration of health. I hope that when the reshuffle occurs the government will let Mr Quinlan take charge of that area because I suspect that at least he will be able to make some administrative improvements there that his colleagues are not letting him do through the cabinet process.

These are the issues that I find people are concerned about. The government is not preoccupied with these issues and I think that it is a sad reflection on the government that, while Mr Stanhope is off in Sydney having a quarrel with John Howard, we are here in this Assembly wasting our time with this classic example of overregulated ACT government initiative that really should not be supported in this place.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (4.12): I had not meant to join this debate until we had the sneering and condescending contributions that we have just had. I know that Mr Mulcahy has delusions of grandeur and would rather hang around most of the time in the lofty halls on the hill coat tugging.

I would remind members that the ACT has only two levels of government: federal government and this Assembly, which takes the role of both state and local government. So, like it or not, as well as being state representatives, you are city councillors. You are city councillors of the bush capital, a beautiful city with open space that has enjoyed and does enjoy the native birds—the crimson rosellas, the eastern rosellas and the gang-gangs—that make this place what it is and common sense dictates that there is a need to take whatever protective action we can.

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