Page 220 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 16 February 2011

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(d) the ACT Government’s lack of intention to restore the barrier to its original size; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to restore the barrier along the north of Isabella Drive to its original size.

This motion relates to what some might say was a relatively minor issue in the context of an overall city such as Canberra. Nevertheless, it is an important issue for the community involved and it relates to their quality of life. It is also important for the Assembly to consider this matter because it highlights concerns that are symptomatic of the approach of this Labor government and it demonstrates that there is merit in a general acknowledgement of concerns that may exist in one part of our city; indeed, it may encourage other residents to raise similar concerns about their community. Concerns about such issues as noise in residential areas, types of housing in residential areas and inappropriate driving behaviour in residential areas arise all the time. As a caring community we should be interested in these issues.

The essence of the issue in Macarthur is that, as the suburb developed and as Isabella Drive was duplicated into a four-lane carriageway to service the people of Tuggeranong, noise attenuation barriers were built along Isabella Drive. For the people of Falkiner Place in Macarthur, this barrier provided a reduction in noise and indeed protection from the vehicles. The residents were either there when the barrier was built or have bought their properties implicitly knowing that the barrier was in place.

The effectiveness, unfortunately, of the barrier has been reduced over time through various actions, and residents have now approached me requesting the restoration of the barrier. The barrier used to be somewhat taller, it would appear, and over the years, whether it be through just general erosion or through activities such as digging it up, its effectiveness has been reduced.

I received an approach from a resident who raised concerns and she asked me to take action to fix the noise barrier. I wrote to the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, as Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, saying that this barrier was here, it seemed reasonable to me that it should be restored to a state so that it provided the protection that it used to provide, and that it should be something the government should consider doing as quickly as possible.

The issue, it would appear, is well known to the Chief Minister, given that testing of noise levels in the area had been conducted. Indeed, Mr Stanhope responded that testing of noise levels showed that there was no noise problem in the area and that Roads ACT had no immediate plans for the implementation of noise mitigation measures along Isabella Drive.

Here lies the real issue behind this motion. The noise barrier did exist. It has been in place for a number of years. The effectiveness of this barrier has been reduced. The community has simply asked for the barrier to be restored to the condition that afforded them protection from noise. The Labor government has replied that no action will be taken, and I believe it twists the facts to suit its lack of action. It is simply

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