Page 3522 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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Then there are roads. TAMS has a program of road resurfacing, which I am happy to go into the details of. In 2012-13 there were 5,144 potholes filled in. These develop when water enters the base layers of the road through cracks caused by wear, age and damage. That is a constant job as well. Street sweeping got a mention. Street sweeping is undertaken on a programmed basis to remove leaves and debris from gutters. Every street in Canberra sees at least two sweeps a year, and arterial roads receive at least four sweeps a year. In the areas where there is a high amount of leaf litter, it is done a couple more times in autumn.

Mr Smyth made the comment, and I have heard it before, that “I have never seen a street sweeper in my suburb.” As it happens, I have never seen a postman in my suburb, but I still get mail. Just because I am not at home at the right time of day does not mean he does not come. The job does get done. Now that I am TAMS minister, I watch these things as I go around and I can see that the gutters have been cleaned. I have never seen the trucks either, but the gutters do get cleaned. Those sorts of comments are not very helpful to the equation.

Then there are streetlights, cycle path sweeping, footpaths and cycle paths. Footpaths got a mention. Let us talk about that. There are over 2,200 kilometres of footpaths in the city. Huge amounts of them are replaced each year. In 2012-13, over 38,000 square metres of paths were replaced across Canberra and 20,000 linear metres of edge cracks were ground down to remove trip hazards, which is a perfectly valid way of making sure the infrastructure lasts as long as possible.

There is heaps more that TAMS does that I could talk about, and maybe I will get a chance some other day. But I did want to turn to the general idea of what urban decay is. There is a whole lot about social infrastructure as well. To my mind, there is a really important issue about a community role in this. I do not think it is all up to the government. There are a whole range of things going on right across our community, whether it is local neighbourhood watches, community councils, park care groups, or people who just bother to go out and maybe mow the grass in the laneway next to their house. It is not that big a deal. I know plenty of people in the community who are happy to do that sort of thing, because they know that we live in a community. That is the sort of contribution people like to make. They like to make it, and why shouldn’t they make it?

Mrs Jones: Do they get a discount off their rates?

MR RATTENBURY: Why not pick up the litter as you walk down the footpath near your house? I do it occasionally. It does not take any of my time. It gets done.

The government cannot deliver everything. There is a role for the community to make a contribution. Even if they do pay rates, there are a lot of volunteers in this community. People actually appreciate being involved in things. I thank people for that contribution as much as I thank the TAMS staff for the considerable job they do.

Discussion concluded.

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