Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) . . Page.. 1513 ..
Liberals’ leader, Mr Parton, who is the shadow minister for planning, local members, Giulia Jones and I have engaged with the community, have talked with the community and have listened to the community, and we agree with them.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.16), by leave: I rise to add my voice to that of Mr Hanson in saying that there are now a number of residents who have put on the record that they would like this process to change: Chapman, 872 residents have signed a petition asking for a stop for the minute to be put on the plans; Holder, 729 people; Mawson, 169 people; and Wright, 464 people. Each and every site has its own issue, but at the heart of it is a change to what the community expected. Some people have bought their houses only in the past few months when suddenly this unexpected announcement was made which totally changes how they view the space around their own homes, and that is reasonable. It is not an affront to people in public housing.
I do not know anybody in Weston Creek who does not have someone in public housing living nearby or in their street. There are some streets that already have five or six all up in a row, like the street behind where I used to live when I was in Hindmarsh Drive. We reach out to people. We try to be good neighbours. The people of Weston Creek are kind. I find them warm and open and kindly and doing the best they can for local people.
But the heart of the problem the government has is not a rejection of people who are living in community housing. We are open to the people who moved into Rivett on the old school site and we work with them. I have done lots of representations for them on break-ins and the like. That is our job and we love to be able to represent those people and do the best we can so that they can have a good experience of life in Canberra and have the housing that they need.
But for community facility zoned land I think everybody in this place would understand that the main expectation people had was that facilities would be opened to the use of the whole community. People would not have been shocked if there was suddenly a plan to put a scout hall on it. I think people would not have been that shocked if there was a plan to put a church on it, although there have obviously been issues with consultation around those types of buildings in my area as well. Even though change happens, people accept it if it seems reasonable. What we are struggling with here is a reasonableness element.
I know the minister has acknowledged that the consultation was not great and that people feel that a decision was made without their input. The problem we are now facing is that not only was the decision made without their input but that there seems to be zero interest in the possibility of even discussing whether these are the right places for these sites. I empathise with the government: they do not want to spend all the money that is coming in from the Northbourne sales on buying up land. But we have had plenty of community meetings where people from the area have said, “Put another one of these properties in my street. Put a dual occupancy. Even put four or five households on a reasonably sized block. Have these people in our community. We will do everything we can for them.”