Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2100 ..

expensive repairs. However, what we have seen this year so far is that, due to limited rain, leaves have sat in street gutters to be broken down into a fine powder. Although this does not risk blockages per se, these fine particles will inevitably end up washing into the creeks and lakes of Canberra.

Once the leaves enter our lakes, they provide a massive influx of nutrients and organic material, which is then a large cause of algal blooms in our lakes. I remember in last year’s budget estimates an official from the environment directorate stated that the leaves which enter our lakes from autumn and winter will “be there to haunt us for several summers to come in nutrients”. Many of us may remember summers of being able to swim in Lake Burley Griffin but, in no small part due to the nutrients from leaves down the drain, it is becoming increasingly common for blue-green algal blooms to close the lakes.

In 2018, swim guide recounts that 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the time sites in Lake Burley Griffin did not pass the test of water quality. I appreciate the government optimism and dedication to education campaigns but if the same press release telling residents not to sweep leaves into gutters has not reduced leaf litter in our streets, maybe this year the government could do more than just design a glossy pamphlet.

As shadow minister for the environment, I bring this motion because of the environmental concerns a poor street sweeping schedule causes. And as a member for Kurrajong, after whopping rates, street sweeping and cracked footpaths are the issues that find their way to me the most through phone calls, emails and whilst I am doorknocking or at mobile offices—both issues under the watch of the same minister.

There are a number of reasons why my constituents are concerned about the lack of street sweeping of our roads. Leaf litter and acorns on the ground for lengthy periods present a safety concern. When wet, the leaves become slick and difficult to walk on. Also when mounds of leaves collect, they obscure the trip hazards of uneven footpaths, drains, gutters and acorns.

One constituent contacted me after tripping over due to a kerb being hidden by a thick layer of leaves. This particular constituent is in their 20s; so this fall, fortunately, was little more than a bit of an embarrassment. But there would be many residents in the inner south and the inner north for whom a trip on a gutter could lead to serious injuries. Many of Canberra’s most leafy streets have limited street lighting and heavily ageing footpaths. To add mounds of leaves into the equation means it does pose a serious trip hazard for many Canberrans to stroll down their streets. Add to this a stroller, a mobility scooter, a skateboard, a bicycle, a wheelchair, a walking frame or those with limited mobility and the safety risks become even greater.

Wearing my other hat of shadow minister for disability, I am well aware that there are enough challenges for our Canberrans with limited mobility when it comes to accessing our public amenities without adding uncleared leaf litter to the mix.

My motion seeks to bring to the attention of the government a number of important issues. The government must audit the street sweeping schedule for all suburbs,

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video