Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 4036 ..
Leaves piling high in the gutters not only create a trip hazard but also go directly against the government’s healthy waterways campaign on “only rain down the stormwater drain”, a campaign that is heavily funded and supported by both the federal and the ACT governments. The minister for the environment will know very well the effect of this volume of leaves entering our stormwater system. Out of sight does not mean out of mind.
Anything entering our stormwater drains has an impact on the health of our waterways and our lakes. Even the government’s own website warns Canberrans that “leaf litter is one of the biggest contaminants when it comes to stormwater” and that “excessive nutrients from leaf litter cause all sorts of problems, including blue-green algal blooms, which often result in lake closures”. I have raised the issue of lack of street sweeping on more than one occasion with the minister, and it is disappointing when the answer I receive is a reiteration of the sweeping schedule that my office has already dutifully looked up.
I agree with Ms Orr that the government should “ensure that decisions about city services are informed by local residents and ratepayers”, but, as Ms Lawder said, it goes to more than just putting those words out there. There is no point in asking for feedback and suggestions if the government has no intention of listening to what Canberrans have to say.
The good people of Kurrajong are being hit with whopping rates increases, and we have a growing ageing population. Fixing cracked footpaths, maintaining regular street sweeping and changing broken streetlight bulbs are basic services that any resident who pays the types of rates that Kurrajong residents do should expect of their local government. When Isobel of Deakin walks home from the bus stop in the dark, she should not be worried about her safety because the streetlight on her street is yet again out. When Elizabeth of Kingston goes for a walk on a Sunday morning, she should not be worried about tripping over a cracked footpath that she has asked to have fixed a number of times. When Jenny of Forrest has waited patiently for months for a cracked footpath to be fixed, she should not have to resort to coming to me and asking why it will take 10 months for it to be fixed. Isobel, Elizabeth, Jenny and the other residents of Kurrajong deserve better.
I again take the opportunity to thank our hardworking TCCS officials and rangers, who work hard to keep our city beautiful and functional, because I am sure that for every resident contacting me about a municipal issue there must be thousands of others that they are looking after.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (6.31): I thank Ms Orr for bringing on this important motion today. As we have heard, we are the bush capital, a city among the trees, and the upside of this of course is our easy access to the great outdoors, breathtaking landscapes and clean air. The downside, if you had to name one, would be that nature does not always clean up after herself. It takes a lot of work to chase after her fallen leaves, to remove sick trees and to keep her grasses trim. We have the hard workers in the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate to thank for their tireless efforts in keeping Canberra beautiful.