Page 2376 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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I am standing here in favour of playgrounds. We should have more of them—and, as the estimates committee said, with trees to shade them. I note that there are trees near the proposed Waramanga site. Also, we have to have a respectful process that enables the community of Canberra as a whole to make a decision about how we prioritise our limited government resources, which playgrounds are fortunate enough to be supported and which communities, unfortunately, will have to be told, “You’ve got a good case but there is a limited amount of government funding and your playground is not going to be one that is funded this year.”

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Ministerial delegation to the USA and American Planning Association study tour

Ministerial statement

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (11.32): It is with great pleasure that I report back to my Assembly colleagues on the delegation that I led to the United States of America in April this year, primarily to attend the American Planning Association national congress in New Orleans. It is recognised as one of the leading gatherings of planners and allied professionals from across the world.

The delegation consisted of me and my Chief of Staff, Daniel Landon, together with the ACT Chief Planner and Director-General of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, Ben Ponton.

Between 15 and 29 April this year, we visited four cities in the United States. This included attending the congress in New Orleans over four days and learning from a range of city officials, politicians, and planning and allied professionals about how they addressed a variety of planning, housing and city growth challenges, many of the same challenges that we are facing here in Canberra.

I find it extremely valuable to talk to others and share experiences so that we can provide for the best possible outcomes for the people of Canberra. Experiences such as this allow us to share with others some of the leading work that we are doing and build strategic networks so that we can continue to collaborate with people from across the world as we should, as a growing global city.

We began with a visit to Detroit, which has experienced the full force of the global financial crisis and the loss of its major industry, car manufacturing. It still has a long way to go on its journey to recovery. The city’s population has gone from around 2.5 million people to just 700,000 people over the last 10 years. What we observed was an extreme example of a city in decline, with many derelict buildings and clear evidence of major social decline. Many hundreds of thousands of abandoned homes have been demolished.

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