Page 4054 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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I am committed to building a sustainable city with a high quality of living. These developments require consultation with community councils, the youth and elderly, businesses, students, researchers and many other stakeholders. I want to genuinely engage with the community to build a conversation that ensures that Canberra remains the world’s most livable city.

Every group mentioned has a unique and creative view which is relevant to the future of Canberra. By extensively engaging a large demographic, we are able to obtain a more diverse response about the town centre master plans, the light rail network and, of course, the statement of planning intent. The only way to get the broad community knowledge surrounding Canberra’s future is to address and contact all of our constituents, which allows us to receive feedback from all Canberrans.

While of course we value the role of the community councils and the work they continue to do throughout the year, I make no apology for drawing on those in our community beyond the community council structure. Governments must reach out to those who may not naturally step forward to put their views. We must ensure that we capture the hopes and ideas of all Canberrans if we are going to realise the potential of our very bright future.

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.45): I want to add a few comments on this matter of public importance around the suggestion that the community councils are unrepresentative. While I understand that the councils have a certain type of person on them, I do rate them for the effort that they put in. In the last few years I have seen regular surveys of their areas. They seem to get a reasonable response from people about the prioritisation of the issues that have been raised and they add other issues and concerns. I think they are very good bodies. They add concerns to the agenda that could easily fall off the agenda of politicians, who perhaps develop agendas that are different, for various reasons.

I particularly want to add a couple of comments about the community councils that I have been involved with or had a close association with. Attending community council meetings has not always been easy for me as a candidate or even as an MLA. They are not there to make me happy. They are certainly there for very specific outcomes for their community, and I think we are better off for their work and voicing their views.

The Weston Creek Community Council has been around since 1991. It has voiced the needs of the Weston Creek area for some time. I thank the council for its continuous involvement in local issues. Present position holders and generous volunteers include Tom Anderson as chair, Pat McGinn as deputy chair, Jenny Adams as secretary, Chris Wilson as treasurer, and Max Kwiatkowski, Janice Paull and Shelby Schofield as committee members. Many people I meet throughout the community have also been involved in the past. These people raise issues about green space, sporting facilities, road infrastructure needs, public amenities, community meeting places, environmental management, local shop upgrades, TAMS funding, waste disposal, parking and public transport. To me, those are fairly straightforward needs of the community.

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