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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2924 ..

MS CODY: Minister, what practical steps have been taken to deliver better suburbs across Canberra?

MS FITZHARRIS: I am pleased to say that the government has already taken a number of practical steps to deliver better suburbs across Canberra. For example, over 2,500 trees near powerlines have been pruned as part of recent powerline clearance works. We are also delivering graffiti prevention measures through the ACT’s graffiti management strategy. This reduces the incidence of graffiti vandalism. Twenty-six legal art sites have been established across Canberra to reduce the incidence of illegal graffiti. In addition to this, the TCCS graffiti coordinator has recently located a new site in Gungahlin.

Graffiti inspections have been carried out at least weekly across Canberra’s suburbs to proactively identify and remove any illegal or offensive graffiti from public assets. 1,600 square metres of illegal graffiti was removed from public assets during July alone, which is less than the 2,200 square metres of graffiti removed each month. We also run an education program for offenders in conjunction with a restorative justice unit in JACS. Graffiti buster volunteers have also removed graffiti in Gungahlin and Kambah over the past year. I pay particular thanks to these terrific community groups that have joined with us in this effort.

Extensive weed control measures have been implemented through the use of herbicides, brush cutting and manual removal. Whilst weeds growing along arterial roads are generally treated at least twice annually, weeds growing in high visibility areas such as parks and entrances to suburbs are treated more as required. Shrub beds are also mulched in an effort to prevent weed growth in the public realm.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what role can the community play in supporting the work of government in creating and maintaining better suburbs?

MS FITZHARRIS: The government recognises that we cannot create and maintain those suburbs all on our own. Creating and maintaining better suburbs is a shared effort between government, business and the community. As we know, Canberrans are proud of their city and their suburbs and I know many residents are active in maintaining and improving their local area. Local residents, for example, can be our eyes and ears on the ground, reporting broken public assets and maintenance issues.

Fix my street, as we know, is a very popular, convenient way for Canberrans to engage with government. Reporting and pinpointing an issue in their suburb has never been easier. Recent improvements to fix my street enable the community to better report faults in city maintenance matters. Locals can directly advise the relevant line area what precisely needs to be done, speeding up response times and helping inform the regular maintenance schedule. The government is also continuing to work on enhancements to this platform, and I look forward to seeing the results of those shortly.

The majority of Canberrans recognise the shared responsibility of caring for our suburbs. This is evident as I move around the city, noting beautifully cared for nature strips, streets and community gardens.

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