Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 13 November 2015

Calls received on air

Directorate: Health

Issue: The caller asked about payment rates for 12-hour shifts at the Canberra Hospital and why those workers were paid less than those doing 10 hour shifts?

Response: The Chief Minister said this had been raised with the Government, and he understood it was under consideration. The ACT Government had met all its requirements as a good employer under the Enterprise Agreement and it remains open to changing the structure of shift penalties when EBA negotiations commence in the not too distant future.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller said two fire extinguishers had been dumped in Lake Ginninderra. The caller had reported this to the Access Canberra hotline and the next day only saw one of them remaining.

Response: The Chief Minister said the directorate will contact the caller to pinpoint the exact location and get rangers on to it.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller. One of the fire extinguishers had been removed from the lake, as witnessed by a member of the public. TAMS staff were unable to locate the other extinguisher possibly because it had been washed away or sunk. TAMS staff will continue to monitor the area and gross pollutant traps.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: What is the future of CSIRO Ginninderra field station? Has it been approved for urban development? The caller would prefer to see it left as green space, or at least to see the Hall creek area protected as the runoff is important to sustain wildlife and native birds in the area.

OUTCOME: The Chief Minister said CSIRO was seeking the approval but it had not been granted yet. It is national land, so it is a decision for the National Capital Authority and then the Commonwealth Parliament. The ACT has no control over the decision to change the National Capital Plan to allow urban development. The ACT needs to be involved if the development goes ahead to make sure the infrastructure to support the development is provided and coordinated, and the ACT needs to see the business case for the decision because there are significant costs associated with upgrading and providing these services to the development. 

The ACT Government is being consulted on the decision, but because the Territory Plan cannot be inconsistent with the National Capital Plan, the NCA and Commonwealth Parliament will decide the future of the site. It then becomes a question of who will undertake the development, and there is a preference for the ACT to be involved in the development to co-ordinate all the associated works, particularly upgrading transport links. If this is done without the ACT Government’s involvement then there are challenges for whoever undertakes the development. If the ACT Government is not involved, there would also be questions about the nature of the leases, as the Commonwealth Government would not usually be involved in issuing residential leases. The Chief Minister acknowledged there were a number of issues that need to be resolved and that the process has a long way to go, but that there would be ample opportunity for the community to provide comment to the NCA and later to the Commonwealth Parliament.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: If you are assaulted in a supermarket by an unwell customer - what rights do you have? What forces the supermarket to have a duty of care? The caller mentioned that the supermarket had a policy not to get involved in ‘altercations’ between customers. The supermarket and police also reported the quality of the CCTV tape was so bad that the responsible person could not be identified. The caller would like to see clear duty of care requirements legislated.

Response: The Chief Minister was sorry to hear of the caller’s recent experience and said he would need to seek advice about the specific legal issues raised. The law applies wherever you are in the community, so it was important that the caller had raised the incident with the police and there had been an investigation. It may be unfair to impose requirements for CCTV on one sector of the community (retail outlets) due to the compliance costs involved.

OUTCOME: An officer from JACS contacted the caller and explained that duty of care is legislated in the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act and it is available to the caller to seek legal advice on whether or not Woolworths breached its duty to her. The officer also explained the caller might be eligible for some type of victims assistance. The caller noted that the police had also raised this with her.

The officer advised that although stores owe a duty of care, they are responsible for managing the risks in their own environments in the best way they see fit, and police could not demand that stores improved their surveillance equipment.

Directorate: EPD

Issue: Parking costs for the Belconnen Red Cross blood bank. The caller said the site was up in the air for next year as Wilsons Parking would be likely to charge for the carpark use in future (8 car spaces for 2 weeks). The existing spot is close to government offices to attract people to donate. This seems an unfair imposition on Red Cross who provide a fantastic service to the community. Could the ACT Government intervene with Wilsons Parking?

Response: The Chief Minister said he would rather find an alternative ACT Government car park to use instead of paying Wilsons Carpark for the use of the site, as that would be rewarding a lack of community spirit. If Wilsons was not prepared to make a community contribution by providing the site free of charge, then ACT Government would try to find an alternative site.

OUTCOME: Staff from the Environment and Planning Directorate (EPD) directly contacted the Red Cross on 4 December to assess their needs for alternative parking arrangements, should they have needed to move away from their regular site on block 7 section 50 Belconnen (a pay parking area, recently taken over by Wilson Parking). Red Cross staff stated that although they were asked by Wilson Parking to pay for use of the site during a recent donor drive, the Red Cross has now secured free use of the area from Wilson Parking for 2016.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: There's a part-built bus stop in Boddington Cres in Kambah. When will it be finished?  

Response: The Chief Minister advised that construction was due to finish by the end of next week, weather permitting.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS spoke to the caller and advised that the bus stop construction work was due for completion on 20 November 2015.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Can the ACT Gov put portaloos down by the lake for the New Year's Eve fireworks? Last year there were large queues.

Response: The Chief Minister said he would raise this with Events ACT. Toilets were now available at Westside, which were not there last year, so there was already increased capacity, but they would also look at the caller’s specific request.

OUTCOME: Events ACT made contact with the caller to ascertain the exact location that was referred to.  Events ACT explained that the location fell outside the event precinct in the city however, undertook to consider the request in planning for this year’s event.  

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller asked why Jerrabomberra wetlands has been closed to kayaks?

Response: The Chief Minister said it was due to bird nesting in the area, and he would confirm if this was a seasonal or year-round closure.

OUTCOME: A TAMS ranger contacted the caller and explained that under both the 1994 and 2010 Management Plans, boat access is not permitted into Jerrabomberra Creek past the Kingston Harbour entrance. This area is zoned as a buffer zone to the refuge area. The refuge area is designed to protect nesting birds and the migratory Lathams Snipe that is protected under the Japan Australia Migratory Bird Agreement.  Kayaks are allowed on the Molonglo reach section of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.  Management of the reserve has to balance the needs of different recreational users and its conservation values. 

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller asked whether anyone could look at the dips in the road surface of Gungahlin Drive near the Glenloch Interchange and also whether point to point cameras were being considered to deal with the speeding and tailgating on Gungahlin Drive?

Response: The Chief Minister said he would raise the issue of the roads surface with Roads ACT and that, while point to point cameras were not currently under consideration for Gungahlin Drive, mobile speed cameras were frequently used to monitor that area.

OUTCOME: On Wednesday 18 November 2015 an officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised Roads ACT were aware of the dips and were investigating remedial options. Another dip on northbound lanes just before the bridge on Ellenborough Street had also been detected and programmed to be repaired before Christmas.

Directorate: Health

Issue: Positive feedback about recent experience at The Canberra Hospital. The caller thanked all staff involved at the hospital from nurses and doctors, to cleaners and clerical staff and said everyone had been fantastic during a frightening medical experience for the caller.

Response: The Chief Minister thanked the caller for the feedback and said he would pass that on to the Hospital staff.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: There seems to be some vacant land in Wright (where the caller is living) that has not been built on yet. What incentives are there for the blocks to be built on by developers or private buyers?

Response: The Chief Minister said there are requirements around ‘commence and complete’ conditions for blocks and penalties associated with not meeting those requirements. The directorate would get details of the blocks off air and find out if they were privately owned and what was happening.

OUTCOME: An officer from Access Canberra – Construction, Environment and Workplace Protection contacted the caller and explained that when the lease on the land is issued, it contains a covenant requiring the lessee to complete “an approved dwelling” within a certain time period (building and development covenants). Originally this covenant required the lease to commence construction within one year of the date of grant of the lease with the construction required to be complete within two years of the date of grant.  This has been modified by the economic stimulus announced in 2014, which now provides no commence obligation and an extended complete date, increased by some three years. If developers/private buyers do not meet the completion requirements, they are required to pay extension of time fees. The Planning and Development Act 2007 was amended to reflect the economic stimulus package, which has reduced the amount of the extension of time fees payable in certain circumstances.  This amendment is due to be reviewed in June 2016.

Directorate: EPD

Issue: The caller felt the ACT Government has neglected Giralang for over 10 years.

Response: The Chief Minister said the ACT Government continued to invest in a large range of community facilities in Giralang, but that he understood there were particular issues with the development of the Giralang shops. The development had been protracted, with legal complications, and the government wanted to work with the community and the developer to achieve a good outcome that he hoped would start very soon.


Directorate: CMTEDD – Policy and Cabinet

Issue: Is the runway at Canberra Airport good enough for international aircraft? Example, Air Force 1 wrecked the runway when George W Bush came to visit because the plane was too heavy for the runway

OUTCOME:The incident with Air Force 1 occurred several years ago, and the Canberra Airport advises that extensive work has been undertaken on the runway since then. Canberra Airport advises that the runway is now of a more than sufficient standard to accommodate large international aircraft.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: I asked about lights being out in Eardley and Thynne Sts in Bruce last fortnight and CM's response was that they were on to it. Still not fixed, and nobody has contacted me. Could you raise it again please?

Response: The Chief Minister said if the lights were still out after 2 weeks it was usually due to a cable fault, but he would ask the directorate to investigate.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS advised the cable fault was repaired on 19 November 2015 and all lights should be operational.  The street light co-ordinator will inspect to verify that the lights are operating.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Why doesn't ACTION buses have a route to the airport?

Response: The Chief Minister said that they do service the airport precinct, but a private bus service provided the direct terminal access.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Is IKEA paying to advertise its opening on those electronic boards over the roads?

Response: The Chief Minister said probably not, but that it was a traffic management question and the ACT Government had to provide advice to motorists to deal with the expected traffic congestion due to the opening.

Directorate: EPD

Issue: Having just driven over the new bridge northbound on Monaro highway ...thinking a more fitting bridge to be named after a dedicated nurse - New Sylvia Curley Bridge ?

Response: The Chief Minister said there was an active and engaged Place Names Committee and he would forward this idea to them for consideration.

Directorate: CMTEDD – Policy and Cabinet

Issue: A low cost domestic carrier has to be a priority for Canberra airport. The current duopoly is driving up prices and reducing options significantly.

Response: The Chief Minister said the aviation industry goes through cycles of expansion and contraction which affect competition and prices of flights.

Directorate: CMA

Issue: Would you please clarify what is the role of the joint venture partner in funding light rail?

Response: The Chief Minister said they were responsible for construction, delivery, operating and maintenance of the facility.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: If land use changed why can't ACT resume land and conduct a public auction. Would remove incentives from CSIRO.

Response: The Chief Minister said the ACT does not own the land, it is Commonwealth land.

Directorate: CMA

Issue: Trolleybus transport system seems to be cheaper and easier to develop using existing infrastructure, gets anywhere public bus can. It is success fully used for example in Europe. Has this kind of System been considered for Canberra?

Response: The Chief Minister said a range of options had been considered.

Directorate: CMTEDD – Policy and Cabinet

Issue: Were you able to raise the question of the ACT seniors being able to continue to receive transport concessions in Sydney with new opal card after Jan 1 2016?

Response: The Chief Minister said he had discussed this with the NSW Premier on 12 November and they will look at options to ensure there is mutual recognition for seniors on transport. As the ACT moves towards a new phase with Transport Canberra and a single ticketing system will be introduced for light rail and buses, that is straightforward and simple, the ACT will work closely with NSW and may even investigate using the Opal system from NSW. This would give even greater simplicity and ease of use for any cross border travel as we look to improve the regional service and greater integration is required. There is no announcement yet, but the government hopes to secure the concessional rates.

Directorate: CMTEDD – Policy and Cabinet

Issue: Cant Federal government legislate, as part of airline operating licences, that they have to service all capitals? I refer to jetstar & tiger in particular. It is prohibitively expensive to fly in and out of here. One can fly sydney to coffs for $50 but [text cut off]

Response: The Chief Minister said he doesn’t think the federal government will seek to impose greater regulation on the aviation sector. The issue is more to do with the fact the low cost carriers are both subsidiaries of Qantas and Virgin, limiting competition.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: can you please explain why caravan rego in the ACT is 3x more than any other place in Aust. $1220. The next price is NSW at $425!!! The same weight van. There is not a heavy use of vans on our roads most are travelling out.

OUTCOME: An officer from JACS explained to the caller that heavier caravans attract a higher level of registration fee and that most fees and charges vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: Yes please! We really need point to point on GDE

OUTCOME: The ACT’s road safety camera locations are currently being reviewed. The review also includes the development of improved siting criteria for the placement of cameras in the ACT.

Directorate: ACT Policing

Issue: Could we have some police presence outside Evatt School? We have very particular traffic restrictions there eg no right turn into Heydon Drive but parents ignore it constantly. It's only a matter of time before a child gets hit

OUTCOME: ACT Policing spoke to caller regarding the traffic at Evatt School. Information from the call was provided to ACT Policing Traffic Operations for review and possible future enforcement of traffic laws around the school.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Any plans to change how long police leave the cars on side of the roads when abandoned or after an accident? Often they are seriously vandalised which only helps the thieves and increases insurance premiums. In some countr [text cut off]

OUTCOME: TAMS City rangers respond to and investigate reported incidents of abandoned vehicles left on public land, roadways and other open space. Abandoned vehicles are defined as vehicles that do not have an owner or responsible person to comply with an ‘Object Removal’ direction affixed to the vehicle under the Public Unleased Land Act 2013. If an abandoned vehicle is not removed according to the direction it can be impounded.