Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 23 March 2017) . . Page.. 1016 ..
Let us recap what the problems are. The government have been caught completely asleep over what has happened in the Woden town square. Thanks to the community council and the work of some others, it has now been raised in this place as a significant issue. I hope the government have enough interest in their own self-preservation that they will at least address the things that they have complete control over, such as the state of the green spaces in that square.
Other questions need to be answered by people who have access to the information, which is not necessarily me. Who owns the buildings that are falling down? Some of them were vacated long before any federal government cuts of recent times. I was handing out leaflets there in 2012 and in 2008, and there were empty buildings. So what are the barriers to the redevelopment of those properties? I understand some of them, at least, are now privately owned.
When I first came into this place and I started talking about the fact that we had empty petrol station sites all over Canberra that were an eyesore, the then minister in charge, Minister Corbell, had a series of meetings with the owners of those empty petrol station blocks. As a result, at least some barriers were knocked down or there was momentum created and a number of those were redeveloped within that term. Rivett still has an empty block but Chapman, Duffy and other places are looking much better because they do not have weedy, graffiti-covered, falling down, fenced areas in the middle of each suburb.
It is the same matter here: even if it is a private development that is not going ahead, it is incumbent upon the government to use everything at their disposal, to sit down with developers and say, “What is the problem exactly?” I could guess what the problem is. We think that the increase in taxes on those who develop is a disincentive to develop. We had our own policies at the last election to improve on that for the town centres.
Mr Gentleman: How did that work out?
MRS JONES: Mr Gentleman, thanks for asking how that worked out. Our vote in Weston-Woden, percentage-wise, did go up in the last election; thanks very much.
It is a pretty scary sight right now. The graffiti is a disgrace, and I spoke many times in this place in the last term about graffiti. This government does not work very hard on graffiti. The answers that I have had in this place from ministers who have been in charge of city services have been, “Oh, we have programs for young people who are involved in graffiti so they can graffiti in the right places.” That is fantastic, but it does not really change the behaviours of those who are tagging, who are showing where they are selling drugs et cetera by putting their marks all over our city. Hindmarsh Drive is a disgrace, and this square is no different.
If there is a will to deal with graffiti in my electorate then I think that would be really welcomed by the community. I would be very happy not to have to continue to bang on about it here. And this square in the middle of Woden is no different. It is absolutely covered in graffiti. There are places in the world where graffiti has been considered to be the starting point for other crimes and where governments have made