Page 659 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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Motion (by Ms Burch) agreed to:

That the Members so nominated be appointed as members of the Select Committee on Estimates 2015-2016.


Motion (by Ms Burch) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Territory and municipal services—urban maintenance

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.56): I will revisit some of the Belconnen issues we did not get an opportunity to finalise in yesterday’s debate. I welcome the admission from Mr Rattenbury that Belconnen is not a very pleasant sight at the moment with the long grass around the place, but it might be worthwhile for him to visit parts of his and other electorates to see how well or badly maintained the urban parks, median strips and the like are.

As I did not have the opportunity yesterday, I draw to his attention the median around Gungahlin Drive at the Aranda overpass, which is verdant with weeds and has been for many years. There needs to be a reassessment of weed management. We have seen across Belconnen and most of Canberra a ridiculous amount of weed growth this year. To say the weeds will be sprayed once in spring and once in summer and that that should be enough is not sufficient. Mr Rattenbury should know what when weeds drop their seeds they have a substantial life in the soil around them—in excess of seven years. Every time a weed goes to seed there is seven years more weed growth. This is not being addressed by the current policy of spraying twice every year to stop weeds growing. Once the weeds are there, they will keep coming back for seven to 10 years even if you do something about it. If you do not do something about it, it will get worse and worse, and this is what we have seen in Belconnen.

What used to be grass median strips have turned into weed median strips. After the weed median strips are mown, grass areas somewhere else are mown and you transfer the weeds to that area as well. There are many pockets of weeds along the Ginninderra Creek foreshore and along the bicycle and shared paths that were not there three or four years ago, and they have come from median strips in the areas around there.

Much can be done about this. Mr Rattenbury spent a lot of time yesterday reading out the policy, but the big admission was that when he went to Belconnen and saw for himself, he was not happy. If Mr Rattenbury is not happy, imagine how unhappy the people of Ginninderra and Belconnen are, the people who live there and have to put up with that all the time. If the minister is not happy, he should be more vigilant so that the next time he does a spot visit he will not see such a horrendous array of weeds in the suburbs. I commend him for being proactive and going out to have a look, and I encourage him to do it more often. We might get better service and better urban amenity out of the department of urban services.

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