Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 August 2017) . . Page.. 2227 ..
be combined under our standing orders. Therefore, based on the Farrer community’s wishes, I seek the Assembly’s support to refer the petitions to the standing committee to consider in the context of their overall work program.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.59): I am very pleased to support the intent of the petition and the referral to the committee. It is really great that the local community is getting together and saying, “Yes, this is what we think our community needs.” I was also very happy to be at that meeting in June, which was one of the best run local meetings I have had the pleasure of attending
There are, of course, lots and lots of issues with this. Clearly we all would like to see better community facilities; there are no two ways around that. This brings up considerable issues of where the government allocates its scarce resources. I note that this afternoon our MPI is on the importance of open and consultative democracy, and I think the Farrer example is a good one of why we need open and consultative democracy. The people of Farrer quite reasonably want better playground facilities, but even in the electorate of Murrumbidgee another group is doing a lot of work on the same subject, of which other Murrumbidgee members, including Mrs Jones, are well aware.
We clearly have issues of priorities of government expenditure. Part of the message out of this is that we need better, more transparent ways of deciding where we spend our money, particularly on city services. All of us know from our days of doorknocking that everyone wants more money spent on their footpaths and most people would like more money spent on buses and roads. Clearly we are not going to be able to spend the sort of money that people want on all of these, but I think this is a real issue we need to look at for Farrer and for the entire community.
We also need a process to enable communities to, where possible and appropriate, help themselves. I am not a Farrer resident and there is probably a lot more history to this that I do not know. Farrer has an excellent cafe. When I was preselected for Murrumbidgee I thought that one of the things I would do to make sure I knew all the suburbs of Murrumbidgee was to go round to each of the local shops coffee shops and I figured I would have a coffee every day. I went with a friend of mine for most of these, and Fox and Bow was the clear lunchtime winner I would have to say.
The next time that Fox and Bow came to my attention was, of course, the basketball hoop. Quite recently a common basketball hoop that many people have in their driveways was put on the side of the road over from the Fox and Bow. It had been there for some months when somebody, I understand, reported it to TCCS who came out and said, “Oh my God. This is not approved. It’s next to a road. This is a safety issue.” It got a big sticker on it and it is now round the back of the shops.
Without wanting to prosecute the ins and outs of that particular incident, one of the things we need to do as a community, particularly as people who are part of government, is work out how we can empower local communities to do things in their own best interests in a way that works for them and for the bigger community as a whole. There is no possibility that the ACT government will ever be able to provide