Page 3516 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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The government is putting in place comprehensive programs to support our natural environment. The recent approval of future development in the Gungahlin district includes over 700 hectares of new land being included in nature park and reserve, protecting valuable and endangered ecosystems in those areas and providing some beautiful amenity for future residents of Gungahlin, and indeed right across the ACT, to enjoy, continuing and enhancing our reputation and our standing not only as the national capital but also as the bush capital.

We are backing up our strategies in nature conservation with real action on the ground. We are protecting threatened and endangered species, like the corroboree frog and the eastern bettong. We are protecting threatened fish species through the provision of artificial fish habitats, including the Tharwa logjam, the Cotter artificial rock reef and cement cod caves. We are committed to supporting the wider community and its engagement in protecting our natural environment through the provision of our environmental grants programs which this year fund 13 new projects across the ACT, including in our urban areas.

The government has built a solid and innovative policy and planning base from which to drive a range of housing, transport, energy, environmental, planning and sustainability reforms for our city, placing our city in a strong position to deliver excellent urban outcomes for the challenges we will face in this, our second century. We are well placed to meet the broad range of urban sustainability and planning challenges that face us today. That is because this government has put in place the strategic thinking, the plans and the policies and is implementing them on the ground to achieve a more sustainable future for our city.

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.19): I rise today to support this matter of great public importance—the importance of protecting the ACT’s urban environment from decay. The urban environment impacts on every Canberran’s daily life. We spend our time travelling to workplaces, schools, universities or CIT only to be confronted by a steady supply of graffiti, dilapidated local shops, derelict petrol station sites, overgrown grassed areas, unfinished abandoned homes littered with broken glass windows, cracked and damaged footpaths and tired playgrounds with peeling paint.

The Labor government are, as Minister Corbell has pointed out, very good at developing beautiful pictures of their plans for the city to the lake project to flog off land between Civic and the lake, which one presumes in a decade or so may not be as nice as suggested. However, they have completely lost sight of the front door to the bus stop or the front door to school.

Many residents in Canberra spend huge sums on buying homes to raise their families or to enjoy in retirement only to be confronted on the way to local shops with graffiti monsters staring at them, piles of rubble and overgrown weeds on old petrol station sites and grassed areas that seem rarely to be mown. I spoke to a distinguished resident of the suburb of Campbell last week who told me, “I remember coming back to Canberra after being away for work in the 1980s and it was like coming back to a manicured landscape.” “Parts of Canberra”, he said, “now look like Mexico.”

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