Page 79 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 10 February 2015

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In respect of the local community in Rivett, locals have been incensed at being surprised by this decision. It just goes to show how long it has been since any government minister has set foot at Rivett shops. Rivett shops has issues including bird waste, needles and drug syringes, graffiti, an empty shopfront and a vacant derelict petrol station site. The car park at Rivett shops already comes under significant pressure from the vibrant Reformed Church, the only one of its kind for the whole Canberra region.

None of the shop owners were consulted. They found out via a rumour that this might be planned. An influx of 50 to 100 cars from time to time into the small car park would make it very difficult for locals to access the shops and for the shops to do well, which is already at times difficult. The litany of issues at these shops should be a high priority for the government, but they seem more focused on beaches at the lakes and expensive trams rather than needle-free, graffiti-free local shops—issues that I have been writing to this government about since I was elected to this place.

The consultation by this government was non-existent, worried locals very much and showed a disregard for local people. Belatedly, I am glad to hear that this Muslim community has now been offered another site, a larger and more suitable site, with much better bus access and space. That is very good and I am glad I had the chance to meet with them and help them to have the courage to ask. But the Rivett locals will remember in 2016 that this government has had very little interest in conversation with them.

I turn to another matter, the Rocky Knob playground in Narrabundah, which we will discuss at some length tomorrow. The minister seems, without consultation, to have decided to do away with the beloved small local children’s playground. As a result, people have been left feeling quite out of the loop. Rates and charges continue to go up. The government breaks its contract with the local community in such an action.

I conducted community consultation on the issue and spoke to local residents. As a result, I wrote to the minister last Friday. By Monday he had changed his mind on the issue—a welcome backflip. I hope that in future more consultation will be held on such choices and not leave communities who are paying increasingly high rates having disappearing facilities that some bought their homes in particular locations in order to enjoy. They are left feeling betrayed by local representatives. Consultation is about listening, not just telling.

There are some quite significant failures this government has overseen. If Minister Corbell believes that they are so great at consultation, how have such blunders occurred? While speaking in the context of playgrounds and consultation, I would like to add to the record that there is not enough parking at the Boundless Playground near Russell offices and the Carillion. People are having to park on the grass. I am getting a lot of complaints from mums and dads. There is a bit of feedback for the government. While we are talking about public consultation, see if there is something that can be done there.

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