Page 3464 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 22 August 2018

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On this, I also point out that community organisations and community councils have lifted more than they should when it comes to the upkeep of local shops. A great example I can point out is the Yarralumla Residents Association, which has an MOU with TCCS now to undertake pruning around the local area.

At the beginning of this month I submitted a question on notice seeking detailed information about the maintenance of the local shops. The answer I received back—that is the answer the minister referred to in her speech earlier—speaks volumes about the lack of care and importance this minister gives our local shops.

I asked no fewer than 10 questions, including several sub-questions, about maintenance schedules at local shops in all geographical areas in Canberra—Belconnen, Gungahlin, the inner north, the inner south, Molonglo Valley, Weston Creek, Woden Valley and Tuggeranong. Even as we in opposition regularly raise concerns about the extraordinary delays sometimes in getting answers back, I fully expected the minister would take my question on notice seriously and provide a substantive, if not detailed, answer.

What I got back just earlier today—no doubt timed exquisitely just before the debate on this motion—is woeful. If I were back to wearing my university lecturer hat, she would be getting a big fat fail for her appalling effort in this answer. The minister should be ashamed for the contempt that that answer has shown the people of Canberra, for whom their local shops are a big part of their community. The answer to the question about how regular maintenance is scheduled is one measly paragraph:

Regular cleaning activities occur in public areas of all local shopping centres in Canberra with service levels dictated by usage levels. The city and other high usage areas such as group centres are attended daily while local suburban shops are attended at least twice a week, depending on size and usage. Public toilets at these locations are cleaned daily.

As seems to be the practice now, there is a neat little summary of the answer having taken 75 minutes to compile, at a cost $126 of taxpayers’ money. I can tell the minister that she could have saved the taxpayers $126, and I confirm that her utterly inadequate answer is delusional at best and contemptuous at worst. That answer is, in essence, suggesting that the numerous constituents who have come to me with these issues are misguided at best and misleading at worst.

The answer is a slap in the face to the numerous constituents who have been in touch with me, raising concerns about their local shops. That answer is the ministerial equivalent of telling me—and through me the numerous constituents who have been in touch with me, raising concerns about their local shops—to go jump.

My motion calls on the government to establish and publish a schedule of regular maintenance of local shops and to report on the budget allocation for such maintenance by the end of the sitting period in October 2018. I welcome one aspect of the minister’s amendment to my motion—paragraph 3(a)—where she agrees to publish online the details of regular maintenance of local shops online. At paragraph 3(b) she talks about public toilets, which are of great interest to many locals. However, I also applaud the minister on her stellar cut and paste skills, because the rest of her

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