Page 2006 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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urban decay in their suburbs. One gentleman had a folder with photographs of urban decay in his suburb, with weeds out of control, with pavements that had been neglected for years with cracks and potholes. The stories we heard in Belconnen reflect the same stories we hear across Canberra when we talk to our constituents. Many of them say to me, “Where is Labor? Where are they?” Although this side are out talking, we see very little action when it comes to real engagement with the community from those opposite.

We know the government is a bit tetchy about this, because the Chief Minister is starting to call himself the mayor of Canberra. I thought Mr Rattenbury was the mayor of Canberra, but it now seems that is a mantle Andrew Barr wants to take on—“I’m the mayor.” We are not quite sure which of them is the mayor, but it indicates a little bit of sensitivity on this issue. These are issues that the Canberra Liberals, in particular Mr Coe, have been talking about for years in this place that this government is slowly starting to wake up to. When you look at the money in the budget for mowing and urban maintenance compared to the money being invested by this government in their number one priority—that being light rail—you can clearly see the priorities of this government.

Ms Fitzharris talked about our being the most livable city and therefore we need light rail. I make the point that we are the world’s most livable city and we do not have light rail now. This argument that we need to have light rail in order to become a livable city is a nonsense. We have achieved that without light rail. In fact light rail will suck up the resources that could be applied elsewhere in our city in the sort of urban renewal that we genuinely need; it will suck it away into a project that will really service only a very narrow band of Canberra—that is, those people who happen to live within walking distance of a tram, which is some two or three per cent of the population.

In terms of the road duplications that Ms Fitzharris talked about, we see the same pattern of mistakes being made by this government as we have seen previously. You would have thought they would have learned from the GDE. You would have thought they learned that building half a road was a mistake. I think that has been broadly acknowledged; I think even those opposite would now acknowledge the way the GDE was built was a mistake. It ended up disrupting the lives of those in Gungahlin unnecessarily and costing tens of millions more than it otherwise would have. It was a mistake.

But we are seeing the same mistakes being made by this government as Ms Fitzharris touts what this government is planning for Gundaroo Drive. If you are going to do a road duplication, do it properly. Learn from the mistakes of the GDE. Mr Coe has argued cogently for this. If the government is going to do a duplication, if it is going to do improvements, it should do it for the longer term. It should not be so short-sighted. We see the same with the Barton Highway roundabout where Mr Gentleman wants his short-term fix, the signalisation. The government’s own reports indicate that is only a temporary measure. In the longer term, if we want a solution for the people of Gungahlin we need an overpass.

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