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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2195 ..

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.34): On this line item particularly but the budget in general, this year’s budget fails to adequately address a number of peer areas within the Department of Territory and Municipal Services. It is evident also that a number of indicative targets are not being met by the department. Either it is working to achieve overly ambitious and unrealistic outcomes or the department is simply incapable of delivering services to its own standards.

I have a number of issues that I want to address here, and the first one is this: this year’s budget finally acknowledges the need to improve the “look and feel of the city”, an unambiguously token gesture by this government in an election year. Having said that, having quoted the government’s statement and its so-called intention as expressed through the budget, we have absolutely no faith that the government means what it says about the look of the city when you see the state of the place.

We are talking about the sudden surge of excitement and enthusiasm to start mowing grass in an election year, after years of neglect. We are talking about the rubbish lying around group centres, town centres and suburbs where clearly the department’s range of services and cleaning services do not reach. We are talking about the grimy look of the city. We are talking about the increasing instances of graffiti vandalism.

On this last point, I would like to say this: we see the inexorable march of graffiti along property back fences, for example, along Athllon Drive, Isabella Drive, Hindmarsh Drive; we see this in and around Garema Place; we see this on top of the graffiti art along Callam Street; and we see it spreading beyond the Callam Street area allocated for graffiti art. Having already vandalised the so-called graffiti art, we now see the graffiti vandals are vandalising the bridges on Callam Street. And this is what happens when you allocate areas but you do not police them. We see graffiti. We have it reported to us by the Lanyon community committee that the Lanyon markets continue to suffer. We do not see an abatement in the graffiti problem; we see the same old level of graffiti year after year after year.

Why is this? Perhaps we should look at the government’s own personal standards in relation to why Canberra is becoming well known as the graffiti capital. Here we are, the national capital of Australia, a city of which we must be proud and in which we must ensure that we exact the best standards, yet we have this situation: the government cannot, even in nine months, clean up graffiti vandalism on their own property or the properties of their own contracted agencies.

I talk in particular of the Hargreaves special, the ex-parks and gardens depot in Braddon. What hope does Canberra have? This territory-owned building in Braddon has been adorned with the same offensive graffiti since at least September 2007 when I first happened to wander past it. And today, nine months later, it is still there, much of it being the same graffiti. I seek leave to table some photographs.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: You might have seen these, but for the greater benefit of the Assembly, I table the following papers:

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