Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 3934 ..
Looking at the city services part of it, I have some sympathy for areas that feel they are inadequately serviced, and I am pleased, of course, that the government is working with the Mitchell businesses. But as a member for Murrumbidgee I would like to put in a plug for the Phillip traders. I know Mr Wall is very well aware of their situation. That organisation started around a year ago as a result of planned changes in parking. It is still going, which is great. I have attended quite a number of their meetings, but I point out to the government that the Phillip traders are in a very similar situation with parking issues and poor public transport, so I have to agree with Mr Wall’s concerns there.
That brings me to the next point: everybody would like better than what we have at present. There is limited funding to go around, and that is why my last item of private members’ business was about participatory budgeting, particularly for city services. We spend a lot of time in this place talking about how area X would like better footpaths, better lighting, better roads, better parks, better playgrounds—you name it—better whatever. There is no doubt that there is a need virtually everywhere in Canberra for better city services. But there is also, as Mr Wall again pointed out, a need for the rates bill not to be too high.
We have to prioritise how we spend our money on city services, and that is why participatory budgeting is important as another way to try to do this. I really do not think debates in the Assembly about individual footpaths are the way to go. Although I am quite happy to entertain more debates about footpaths versus roads or whatever, debating individual footpaths is really not the way to go. Having said that, when doorknocking last year and this year, I found that footpath maintenance seemed to be one of the highest things on the list of the constituents of Murrumbidgee, and that is one of the reasons the parliamentary agreement has more funds for footpath maintenance.
I am really amazed that we have two private members’ motions from the Liberal Party about light rail. I am really pleased to see the increased emphasis on sustainable transport options for Canberra. While we may agree or disagree about particular parts, it is very important that this place looks towards the future. One of the fundamental things the ACT government must provide is a transport system that works for Canberrans into the future. I thank Mr Wall for this motion, misguided in some instances though I think it is. As I said earlier, the Greens will be supporting Minister Fitzharris’s amendments.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.41): I support Mr Wall’s motion and in doing so I support the hundreds of small businesses that operate in Mitchell and make a significant contribution to our community. During Ms Fitzharris’s speech Mr Wall and I were chatting about the many issues we had with what she was saying. There were many inconsistencies and also inconsistencies in what Ms Le Couteur said as well. In contrast to what Ms Le Couteur thought was meant by (2)(c) with regard to additional all-day parking in Mitchell, it is not actually about park and ride in this instance; there would be no point in building additional car parking in Mitchell if there is no stop there.