Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 19 February 2016

Calls received on air 

Directorate: TAMS 

Issue: The caller asked about a former corner store that has been abandoned for quite some time. The caller highlighted that it is an eyesore as it is covered with graffiti, and it is devaluing the surrounding real estate. The caller asked if there is anything the government can do to enforce the landlord to ensure it is kept tidy through a bylaw or some other avenue?

Response: The Chief Minister said that there are some legal avenues for government to deal with these situations. However, the preference would be to work with the property owners. In the first instance, it would be fantastic to revitalise the area. Noting that this may not be economic at this point in time, the Chief Minister said the government would look into that opportunity with the owners.  The Chief Minister also noted that the government have appointed a coordinator to work with street artists and with private property owners, as the best way to address reoccurring graffiti appears to be to commission a piece of art on an abandoned site, rather than just leaving it for random graffiti. 

OUTCOME: Once the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate is able to verify the location of the shop, they will contact the shop owner to request removing the graffiti.

Directorate: TAMS 

Issue: The caller asked about hopper bins in a town house complex in Manuka. The caller advised that in their current complex they use industrial hoppers instead rather than wheelybins for rubbish. The hoppers have heavy lids and are not easily opened. For example, one of the caller’s friends saves her rubbish till the weekend when the family can come and help her put it in the bin.

Response: The Chief Minister said he would get some further details off the air and see if any assistance could be provided to resolve the issues. 

OUTCOME: An officer from NOWaste contacted the caller and advised that NOWaste would investigate the issue with a view to replacing the hopper with a lid-in-lid insert. The officer would visit the site and advise whether it can be serviced with 1.5 metre hoppers and investigate potential solutions.

Directorate: EPD

Issue: The caller asked about what was happening with the Giralang shops. 

Response: The Chief Minister said that it is still the subject of legal proceedings. The situation is unprecedented in the context of it being taken to the High Court. The Chief Minister advised that the redevelopment has been in train since 2006. The latest advice is the development application to redevelop the shops was approved on 17 August 2011. This was followed by a series of legal actions, demolition then commenced in September 2014, but further work was halted whilst subjected to legal appeals.  Currently, the ACT Court of Appeal is yet to make its decision on the latest legal appeal. It is hoped that the court of appeal will makes its decision very soon. 

Directorate: TAMS 

Issue: The caller raised issues with peak hour buses in Forde, particularly Route 255 that passes the Forde shops at 8.00am. The caller was concerned as during peak hours, the bus was frequently full and unable to collect passengers along the route. The caller asked about the potential for a bigger bus to be scheduled on this route. 

Response: The Chief Minister advised that the government is currently in the process of replacing and upgrading the bus fleet, which included adding larger buses. The Chief Minister highlighted that the process of further upgrades to the ACT bus network is an ongoing program for the ACT Government, and that the introduction of light rail will free up 1 million kilometres of bus travel to service the rest of the city.The Chief Minister said he would raise the caller’s specific issue with Action, who could review the patron data and look into supplementing services. 

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised Public Transport planners monitor performance reporting from the MyWay ticketing system and have identified that the Route 255 has been carrying high passenger loads. There are plans in the next service revision to increase the number of services or capacity of buses through Bonner and Forde to meet the demand in the area.

Directorate: Access Canberra 

Issue: The caller raised issues about power supplies to building sites in the southern suburbs. The neighbour of the caller is undergoing substantial renovations. The neighbour asked if power could be provided over the fence to power the building site. The caller has raised this issue with ActewAGL who advised that, in providing the power, the caller, the neighbour and the builder would be liable for a fine. When the caller advised the neighbour of this, the builder’s response was to check with the opposite neighbour. The caller wanted to highlight that this must be a problem right across the construction industry, and it must be saving builders thousands and losing ActewAGL money, as much as it is a safety issue.

Response: The Chief Minister thanked the caller for raising this issue and that the general warning would be taken on board.  The Chief Minister advised that the caller could provide further specific details off air.

OUTCOME: Access Canberra contacted the caller who questioned whether it was a requirement under legislation for a builder to have a temporary electricity supply installed at a residential site where the power has been disconnected. Access Canberra advised that there is no such requirement under Work Health and Safety legislation or the Building Act. However specific requirements exist regarding the use of appropriate and tested electrical equipment; the use of cable stands and residual current devices. Access Canberra will carry out an inspection on site to ensure that electrical equipment is being used in a safe manner.  The caller was also advised that the supply of electricity between properties is a contractual matter between the customer and ActewAGL, and that any concerns regarding the supply of electricity to other premises should be referred to ActewAGL for further action.

Directorate: Access Canberra 

Issue: The caller raised issues about parking at Southwell Park, particularly on weekday evenings. The caller noted that there are plenty of parks a short walk away, however patrons insist on parking in the ‘no standing zone’ and bus zone. 

Response: The Chief Minister noted it is a source of frustration, and that he will see what can be done. In the first instance, perhaps some warnings can be issued.

OUTCOME: Access Canberra parking inspectors will monitor the area and issue warnings in the first instance to educate drivers on appropriate parking practices.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller raised the issue of prohibited (yellow) bamboo being grown in his neighbour’s yard. The caller advised that it had been identified by an ACT Government inspector as an invasive weed. The caller asked what the next available step was, advising that they had consulted with the neighbours (who are only tenants) who had raised this with their property manager; however the issue was yet to be resolved. 

Response: The Chief Minister said that he would take the caller’s specific details of air and follow the issue up. Another caller also sent in a message saying the Canberra zoo may be able to assist in removing the bamboo as they used it for their animals. 

OUTCOME: An officer from the Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) area contacted the caller. The caller had previously raised the issue with PCS and had been advised that the bamboo is Golden Bamboo.  The caller was advised to consider legal advice about the issue. Golden Bamboo is listed under the Pest Plants and Animals Act as a plant that should not to be propagated or sold in the ACT. However, the ACT Government cannot enforce its removal from leased land.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: The caller raised issues with the Campbell 5 Redevelopment. The caller noted that there have been several years of upheaval in the area, with new roads created only for them to be closed off again. The caller highlighted that to access Anzac park from Constitution Avenue requires meandering through the streets, and there is a beautiful new park that is inaccessible. The roads were put there to allow for access, and the caller said there seems to be no other real reason than for the convenience of the developers that they should be closed off now.

Response: The Chief Minister advised that he would have someone look into the development approval conditions and ensure that these conditions are being met. The Chief Minister noted that it will be a fabulous community facility and that access should be restored as soon as possible. 

OUTCOME:  An officer from Economic Development contacted the caller and advised the following:

Ongoing closure of roads in the Campbell 5 estate are the result of requests for closure by the developer of the Campbell 5 estate.  The government has considered these requests and has issued approvals to close these roads.  Enquiries related to public road closures should be directed to the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate (TAMS).

The Land Development Agency has recently completed the construction of the park and it is currently fenced off to allow the landscaping to establish and stabilise. The establishment period has concluded and the Land Development Agency is currently seeking Operational Acceptance from TAMS, which will enable the fences to be removed and the park to be opened to public use.  The park is expected to be open for public use from mid-March 2016.

Directorate: Education 

Issue: The Caller advised that he was a special needs bus driver for the Namadgi School and was experiencing issues with being parked out of the designated bus zone of a morning and afternoon, with drivers ignoring the designated zones. The caller advised that contact had been made with both ACT Policing and ACT Parking who fairly commented that as it is on private property there wasn’t much that could be done. The caller advised that it is a major problem which would likely lead to someone getting hurt in the car park. 

Response: The Chief Minister said he will get some further information on what has happened to date and that we will need a more significant intervention if people are just ignoring the road rules and direction of the school. The Chief Minister thanked the caller for raising it and advised he would see what could be done. 

OUTCOME: The caller phoned the Chief Minister’s Office to advise that the issue had been resolved as ACT Policing had attended the site that afternoon. 


Directorate: Education/Access Canberra – Parking Ops

Issue: Can you get somebody to look at parking issues at North Ainslie Primary?

OUTCOME: An officer from Education contacted the caller to discuss parking issues at North Ainslie Primary School. The caller is concerned about cars parking the nature strip and on both sides of Sherbrook Street, thereby restricting/preventing traffic moving along the street. The caller suggested installing No Parking signs on one side of the street and regular enforcement by parking inspectors and police. The issue has been discussed with Parking Operations and solutions will be identified and progressed in consultation with Roads ACT and the school. Access Canberra also contacted the caller and advised that while Access Canberra has taken action in late 2015 with the illegal parking at North Ainslie School, the school has been identified for further parking patrols. These will continue throughout 2016 with a view to deter illegal and dangerous parking behaviours at the school.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Re Manuka upgrade. Will this mean Canberra rate payers would have to give another $23mil to the Western Sydney Giants when the current contract finishes?

Response: The Chief Minister said no, that with the Giants’ proposed model, the ground would be more economic. The fundamental issue is that Manuka, in its current configuration, doesn’t return enough revenue to hirers and that is why events need subsidising. The Chief Minister said if you were to upgrade the facility then the need for match day subsidies associated with operating the events there would be less. The Chef Minister also advised that the government would still use the avenues of the AFL, the Giants and their major sponsors Virgin, for tourism promotion. The Chief Minister explained that what has often been misunderstood in relation to that arrangement with the Giants is that there is an element of it that relates to the deficiencies of Manuka oval as a venue but a large proportion of it is a major interstate promotion of Canberra through the AFL, the Giants and their other strategic partner Virgin Airlines. The Chief Minister explained that it is a tourism promotion, and while we could have spent that money on buying ads in newspapers or on a commercial television network, instead we have decided to use part of our tourism spend to go through these channels, Virgin and the AFL, who have very large broadcast footprints into large markets for people we want to attract to travel to Canberra. 

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Why not put the money into Phillip oval (next to Phillip pool) where there is more room and parking and give some facilities to Woden

Response: The Chief Minister advised that this idea had been examined over the last two decades. During 2006-2009 the option of one multipurpose stadium for Canberra was considered but ended up being more expensive and not suiting any individual user’s needs which would have ended up with a suboptimal outcome. Back in 2009, the government settled on a two stadium policy, one based on oval sports (cricket and AFL) and another on rectangular sports. That was undertaken after years of work and looking at all of the different models, consulting with all the different user groups and consulting with the National sporting bodies. The Chief Minister highlighted that there was no point building a facility that users will not play at – we have to meet user needs as well. 

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Please leave Manuka oval alone. Leave it as the boutique oval it is and spare us from the generic eyesores of other cities

Response: The Chief Minister accepted the raised concern and advised that he also had no interest in another ‘bland colosseum’. The Chief Minister advised that for any proposal to get his support it needed to maintain Manuka as the best boutique cricket venue in Australia. The Chief Minister noted that there is certainly a possibility in between what we have now in terms of temporary seating, 50 year old stands and a lot of seats without shade and  something that is still boutique but offers a higher level of spectator amenity. The Chief Minister also advised that the specific proposal that has been put forward in the unsolicited proposal opens up the ground more then it currently is to the north through the Telopea park precinct and to the south into the Manuka business precent.  

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Thank you for Fix My Street it is very useful and usually very efficient. Except for fixing the section of path/bike path between Dickson College and the small bridge over the storm water drain that connects with the main bike path that takes you to Dickson

OUTCOME: An officer of TAMS contacted the caller and informed them that Roads ACT will inspect the area and any trip hazard will be repaired immediately, and if required they will replace the concrete panel.

Directorate: National Capital Authority 

Issue: Dear Chief Minister. Can you please repair the guardrail on the overpass on Capital Circuit just before the lodge? For more than 6 months the speed limit on the left hand bend before the lodge has been posted at 60km/h. It is dangerous when some slow down

OUTCOME: This is a National Capital Authority asset. TAMS notified the Authority that repairs are required and was advised that repairs are scheduled for March 2016.

Directorate: Economic Development 

Issue: Why not excavate under the Oval and put in a massive car park?

Response: The Chief Minister noted that it is interesting people automatically seem to assume that you need car parks to match the capacity of a venue. The Chief Minister noted that there are 450 car parking spaces in the proposal, which is probably 450 more than what there is at the Melbourne Cricket Ground has with its 100,000 capacity. As part of thinking about infrastructure upgrades, the connectivity with public transport is required. Surrounding a major event venue with car parking leads to world’s biggest traffic jam to get in and out of the venue and then people don’t come.  The Chief Minister highlighted that we have to come to terms over time with the idea that you might get to the venue by parking somewhere nearby and walking or catching a bus and being dropped off at the door. There will always be circumstances where people can’t walk, and they can be dropped off while the driver goes to park the car. 

Directorate: JACS/ACT Policing

Issue: The chief minister should explain the new laws they have introduced allowing police to enter your home and breath and drug test you up to two hours after you have returned home!!!

Response: The Chief Minister said that this has been related to a number of other changes that have been announced this week around police pursuits. The Chief Minister said if you evade a breath test then police will have the capacity to follow up. The Chief Minister noted that it is not unusual for there to be follow up testing and that the details have been well canvassed in the media this week. 

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Good morning Chief Minister and Genevieve, I'm concerned about the mowing around Canberra. I remember hearing some time ago the contract was lost by the previous contractors and awarded to a Victorian firm. I suppose they had a cheaper price?? But I think the service is poorer now. They only mow 5-10 metres from the verge. The bush fires were less than 100 meters from my back yard. It makes me very nervous. We were lucky. Others weren't, they lost everything.

Response: The Chief Minister advised that extra resources had been put in to increase the frequency of mowing and the feedback received was that this had been noticed. The Chief Minister noted that the rate of grass growth varies season to season depending on the timing and volume of rain. A dry summer was anticipated this year but that did not eventuate. The Chief Minister advised that we do have some surge capacity within the mowing budgets and the physical resources that are available. The Chief Minister said that he would get the details of the specific area and have TAMS look into it and see what can be done to deploy that capacity. 

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised that the mowing program is on the TAMS website. The caller was also advised that the new contractor is performing well, notwithstanding the seasonality of the mowing programs and grass growth. The caller was assured that TAMS would monitor the area to ensure that the appropriate quality of mowing was occurring.

Directorate: ACT Policing/JACS

Issue: I don't drug or drink..... Irrespective, of why, Can the police enter under the premise, without warrant? given there's no particular cause other than suspicion?

OUTCOME: ACT Policing spoke to caller and explained certain circumstances where police could enter a premise to conduct testing.  ACT Policing gave the following example: if a car has had minor collisions with a number of parked cars on the street before the driver exited the car and entered a house.  Witnesses to the collisions indicated that the driver may be intoxicated due to the driving manner and appearing intoxicated when exiting the car. Given the witnesses’ accounts and suspicion that the driver is intoxicated, police could now enter a premise to conduct a breath test.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Can something be done about installing speed bumps to slow down traffic on the side of Lowanna Street Braddon furthest away from Northbourne Avenue. With an increase in population there is a real risk of someone being run over

OUTCOME: An officer of TAMS contacted the caller and advised that Lowanna Street carries around 1000 vehicles per day travelling at an average speed of 52 km/h and is not a high priority road for local area traffic management treatments in comparison to other similar roads. 

Directorate: Economic Development 

Issue: : 1-Will the government consider asking for expressions of interest for a privately funded rectangular stadium at civic pool site using a similar model to the Manuka proposal? 2-Will Canberra tourism be marketing Floriade in Singapore given the new direct flights?

OUTCOME: An officer from Economic Development contacted the caller and advised the following:

The Manuka proposal was submitted via the unsolicited proposals framework. This framework, which is publicly available, outlines the requirements for a submission to be considered by Government. This proposal was not prompted by Government through any expression of interest or other procurement process.

The city stadium is proposed to be located on the existing Civic pool site. At this point a delivery methodology has not been determined and more work is to be done on this front. The proposed site has existing constraints such as the Civic Pool. These constraints need to be resolved. The government will be undertaking some feasibility analysis to explore options for what type of stadium is best, available funding models and delivery models. Pending the outcome of the feasibility analysis, the Territory may consider an appropriate procurement approach, such as an Expression of Interest, whereby submissions can be made and assessed in a fair and transparent process aiming to deliver the best outcome for the Territory.

The government has been promoting Floriade to the Singapore market for many years.  This is done by distributing information on the event and wider destination to key partners in Singapore and also through Tourism Australia's global network and through a range of digital channels.

Directorate: TAMS 

Issue: : Second request, have searched Action website and can't see a direct and preferably quick bus route between Dickson and Woden. No 2 would take over an hour. If there isn't a quick route could Action consider creating one please? 

OUTCOME: TAMS contacted the caller and advised that Public Transport planners will investigate the possibility of direct Dickson to Woden services in the next network design. At the moment, the fastest way to travel from Dickson to Woden is by catching a service to the City from Northbourne Avenue and transferring to the high frequency Blue Rapid line. Whilst this trip includes a transfer, the wait time is reduced when connecting to the Blue Rapid and the trip can be made in as little as 29 minutes – a much faster alternative to catching the Route 2. It is recommended that customers take advantage of the Transit Trip Planner on the ACTION website, or the Google Transit planner on mobile devices to determine the fastest route.