Page 2228 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 August 2017
every community facility that is wanted. Whatever we may talk about—rates—it is simply not a possibility.
So there are two messages. Farrer clearly would love to see better facilities and there is a clear need for better facilities near the shops. The other message out of this is that we need a better process for balancing government priorities. Participatory budgeting is something that comes to mind, and I may well talk about this in the debate this afternoon. We also need a better process for people helping their own neighbourhoods. Quite a few people, for instance, have built little local libraries, little book cupboards, and I think they are great. There is one in Hughes, there are a number in the inner north and there is even one in Molonglo, which is great, on the Charles Weston School site. These are the sorts of things we need to work out how best to encourage in a way that supports local communities, and the community as whole. I thank Mr Steel and the community of Farrer for their involvement in this issue.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (11.05): I congratulate the community of Farrer for making their views known in this place and taking the initiative to be part of the solution. I acknowledge the hard work of retired colonel Rollo Brett, distinguished Army veteran mentioned in despatches, head of 4 RAR and member of the 8th/9th Battalion. Everywhere around the country former military people are making a difference because they know how to get up and work hard for their communities.
I also want to acknowledge Alex Piris, the owner of Fox and Bow. Not only is he a great local advocate but he is a down to earth member of the community who is always willing to do something to see things improve. He has also been a part of fundraising for the Tara Costigan Foundation. Good on Alex. I also want to acknowledge the president of Neighbourhood Watch, Margaret Pearson, who has been involved in this process as well because she knows that the better our communities are functioning the safer they are.
I draw attention to the ridiculous situation we have found ourselves in, where a cafe cannot put up a little basketball hoop for kids to increase community involvement and create a positive experience for their local community. It encourages exercise and being out in the local community, rather than always jumping in the car to go somewhere further away. I encourage the government to consider, as Ms Le Couteur has mentioned, allowing communities to buy into their own playgrounds. I am well aware that the ACT has a huge number of playgrounds, many of them very small.
In last year’s campaign I worked very hard for a policy that we brought forward which would have seen communities able to fundraise and get equipment from a list which would then be installed and maintained by government. This is a way of really reducing the cost to government for new playgrounds to be established without having to balance it with that painful decision about where money should be spent.
If people are motivated, want to put their hands in their pockets, want to fundraise or want to form an alliance with a local charity or a community group like Rotary or something like that, we should facilitate and enable that to happen instead of just having to say no all the time to motivated community groups who can imagine a