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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2047 ..

narrow road verges with no space for trees. Even if 1,330 trees could be planted, they will have very little effect, because of the planning regime under which Gungahlin was built. By comparison, in the new development of Ginninderry, the urban heat island effect is being tackled at the planning stage. In stage 1 of this development, 350 houses will be built and 1,200 street trees planted.

We support the adoption of policies to reduce the urban heat island effect, but they must be based on facts. Trees are important, but the planning policy must incorporate that, not thwart or discourage it. Throwaway lines in the current budget like “plant 1,330 trees to reduce heat island effect in urban areas” must be seen for what they are: at best, business as usual; at worst, hypocritical, self-gratifying and out of step with policies in other areas.

I will briefly touch on playgrounds. A million dollars has been allocated, which could include funds for new playgrounds. We have had a lot of requests from the public about playgrounds, many of which have been denied by this government. How much will actually be spent on running the consultative process when we are ignoring the input of constituents as it is? We have seen petitions and approaches from many groups in this place, for Greenway, for Higgins, for Torrens, for Waramanga. We need to upgrade and improve our existing playgrounds, not only build new playgrounds.

We also want to see what the government is actually promising this year. What are we getting? We are getting $56 million spent with more rangers. How many more? The answer is: not as many as promised. We are seeing upgrades to three ovals and more mowing, weeding, removal of graffiti, tree trimming, and waterway cleaning. This is simply catch-up for years of declining budget in this area. It is not even keeping pace with population growth. When you starve areas of resources over years, it is easy to make it look as though you are suddenly allocating additional resources with a bit of a boost in a year. That is what we are seeing here. It is not a particularly good real increase in resources; it is merely playing catch-up. We are barely keeping our head above water in providing basic local services that people expect for their rates, for the very high rates and ever-increasing rates that we are seeing from this government.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.57): I would like to thank Ms Cheyne for not only bringing this motion to the Assembly today but for her extensive insight and experience in this area, not only in this place but also, obviously, as she mentioned and as many people in Belconnen know, from her considerable community activism before being elected to the Assembly. It is, of course, important, as all members have recognised, that the government does continue to deliver on core city services that provide the on-the-ground, tangible, everyday improvements that directly impact the lives of ACT residents and engage ACT residents in determining what improvements are important for their communities and neighbourhoods.

As we know, by 2033 the Canberra population is expected to grow to over half a million people. To service the growing and diverse mix of residents and visitors, the ACT Labor government is committed to improving how people move around

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