Page 2929 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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Territory and Municipal Services Directorate—schedule 1, part 1.19.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (8.10): The TAMS Directorate is of course a very large one, with expenditure of over half a billion dollars. The provision of urban services should be core business for a local government, and for half a billion dollars I firmly believe that Canberrans should expect more than what we are currently getting.

The ACT government are responsible for the provision of basic urban services like mowing, providing footpaths, managing trees and streetlights and street sweeping. These basic services are required to ensure that public spaces in the ACT are maintained well and look their best. Of course, many Canberrans take great pride in the appearance of their properties and they also expect the government to take great pride in their assets. However, so often it seems that the government are distracted by their own grandiose projects such as light rail that they often neglect the appearance, look and feel of our suburbs.

Constituents continue to raise concerns about overgrown grass, broken footpaths and streetlights that are not working. Every year in the spring the government fails to keep up with grass growth as if it is a major shock when it starts to grow come September. We understand that there is going to be an extra mow this year but I think there are many Canberrans that will believe it when they see it. We will of course see whether this does in fact solve the problems, and it will be very good to see whether there is a correlation between mowing complaints last year and this year. Perhaps that can be a statistical exercise for the directorate and see whether they actually do seem to be ticking the boxes by way of that. That could be a recommendation for next year’s estimates report, Mr Smyth, should you be chairing it.

Mr Smyth: I will start writing now. Get ahead of the game.

MR COE: Please. If not, perhaps there is scope for an annex. Canberra’s footpath network is of course getting old and showing its age, and in older suburbs the footpaths are cracked, dangerous or perhaps even non-existent. Broken and missing footpaths are not only inconvenient but are also quite dangerous, and if the government is genuinely working towards active travel, active transport, then the maintenance of footpaths is of course something which does need to be a top priority.

I think the government knows that Canberrans are getting tired of the government’s neglect of the suburbs, and that is why this budget shows an extra $8 million for urban services over the next four years. However, the government have deliberately allocated most of the money for the next two years. This means that they are going to stop spending money after the election. This is not a government that is concerned about looking after Canberra’s suburbs, it is a government that seems to be more concerned with hiding some neglect in the lead-up to the election.

The government is also failing when it comes to waste management. Last year, the Mugga Lane tip was suddenly closed because it had unexpectedly reached capacity long before the government thought it had. Rubbish had to be transported to the west Belconnen tip at a fairly significant cost. However, even more concerning was the fact

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