Page 3509 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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Despite this, the review found that the act has benefited the building and construction industry and the ACT economy and remains an important piece of legislation to remedy non-payment in the ACT. The government is committed to further exploring the areas of potential improvement identified in the report.

I look forward to continuing to work with the building and construction industry, the authorised nominating authorities and other stakeholders in improving the operation of the act. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Planning—urban environment

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): The Speaker has received letters from Ms Berry, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, myself, Mr Hanson, Mrs Jones, Ms Lawder, Ms Porter, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, she has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Smyth be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of protecting the ACT’s urban environment from decay.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.54): This is an important matter. It is important on two levels. Firstly, at the local level it is about where we live and how we live. But at the broader level it is about us as a city and our future. Perhaps in the centenary year it is a worthy debate to be had, because I do not think we have had a great deal of debate about what the Centenary has meant and what the legacy from the Centenary will be, except perhaps the hangover from some very, very good and entertaining events. But what direction has now been set and how will we know that we are going there?

There is a constant theme in letters to the editor in the Canberra Times, in the Chronicle and the local papers about the state of the streets. One that I recall—I asked my office to ask the library to track it down—was, admittedly, from January last year. It is from a young resident of Young who visited. I will read it. It is entitled “Mow the grass”:

I have been visiting my grandparents in Canberra for the past three weeks over the Christmas holidays. All I wanted to do while I was here was go to the local parks and skate parks for a play. The parks in Canberra are very untidy. There is too much long grass to walk through to get to the playgrounds or skate parks. Can you please mow all of the untidy long grass which makes Canberra look so messy? In Young, where I live, our parks and streets are very clean and tidy. They are always mowed and look neat.

That is from Charlie Sullivan, aged seven, from Young, New South Wales. There was another interesting letter from a Keith Minto of Holt in which he asks, “Why the mess?” It states:

Returning to Canberra after an absence, it is noticeable how untidy our city looks. Grass growing out of cracks, median strips unmown, scotch thistle emerging from drains. I know that this is a sleepy January, but interstate visitors notice this. Where has our civic pride gone? Does it boil down simply to a cost,

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