Page 4702 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (3.47): I rise today to advocate for the importance of community participation in the ACT on government service delivery, including through fix my street, because I believe in social democracy. Social democracy, as championed by Labor greats like Whitlam, Curtin and Gillard, is the process by which we include all people, lifting up the excluded. It means that those who are disadvantaged financially by a disability, by lesser education, by social exclusion or by poor language skills are lifted up and included. Sometimes it also means not giving so much weight to the squeaky wheel or those who are already in a privileged position in the community. I am sure the opposition will be pointing out the elite’s complaints shortly.
As I lodged this MPI I took the time to think about all the ways this government is listening, and I realised that I could not list them all. There are simply too many to list in the time available. So I would like to apologise to those many hardworking public servants whose work I will not acknowledge today, and I do hope some of the other speakers cover off these other important ways in which the government is listening.
There are a few examples of listening that I particularly want to highlight. Firstly, I would like to congratulate Minister Stephen-Smith on the recent conclusion of the deliberative process helping to develop the ACT carers strategy. Carers are one of the groups in our community who often have trouble being heard as they face the challenges of balancing caring with work and other responsibilities. The carers voice panel included 49 carers and other members of the community to ensure that those voices were heard and that our government’s carers strategy is inclusive of diverse points of view, including carers of frail aged people, carers of people with a disability, young carers and foster and kinship carers. Each has their own unique experiences, perspectives and advice, and they have given the minister a great deal to think about in developing our carers strategy.
I would also like to highlight the work of Minister Gentleman in continually improving the community participation mechanisms in the planning portfolio. Not wanting to undertake city planning simply for the sake of crafting artistic street layouts, Minister Gentleman is ensuring that we have the processes to listen and to deliver for the future needs of people who live, work and play in our city. This has included ongoing processes of encouraging pre-DA consultation and promoting good practice in those consultations, as well as initiatives like the DA finder app and the community panels on the Kippax and Curtin master plans.
I would also like to congratulate Minister Ramsay and Minister Fitzharris on their excellent work on the recent upgrades to fix my street. Whilst I am sure the government’s extensive program of scheduled maintenance will be rightly praised in the upcoming annual report hearings, I am also aware that sometimes things break when they are not scheduled to, an animal may come to an unfortunate end, a streetlight goes out or one of our less considerate Canberrans takes a shopping trolley for a walk where they should not.
Fix my street is an important part of how the government promotes community participation in service delivery because it not only takes complaints but also informs