Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 20 March 2015


Calls received on air

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Enlighten event wasn't accessible for people in wheelchairs. The caller injured herself there due to low lighting.

Response: The Chief Minister noted the area was under National Capital Authority responsibility but that the ACT government, as the event organiser, needed to consider lighting. The CM noted paths for access should be appropriately lit but that darkness was required for this event to be effective too.

OUTCOME:An officer from the Events ACT team contacted the caller to establish the precise location and nature of the incident. The caller clearly identified the area and clarified that her concerns were not so much for herself as she was not seriously affected, however, her concerns were relating to the lack of visibility on a pathway with stairs and trip hazards to a person with mobility issues in the future. The officer acknowledged her concerns and advised that the area, now more clearly defined, would receive a review into temporary lighting and safety options for future events. The range of measures to resolve this may include temporary lighting, signposts and/or barriers. This was a good opportunity to communicate with a visitor to a busy night event and to understand the mobility challenges encountered by a member of the community using public spaces.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: The caller was a volunteer and found the process for dealing with vulnerable people checks overly burdensome and bureaucratic. The caller had to complete 3 police checks and 3 sets of forms for one card.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that one should be enough and undertook to investigate the caller’s situation and provide a response.

OUTCOME: The Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) contacted the caller and enquired about the circumstances relating to her requirement to provide secondary police checks to various agencies.  The caller advised the ORS that although she had registration under the Working With Vulnerable People (WWVP) Scheme, a couple of volunteer agencies had requested she complete a separate police check as part of their protocols ‘for their own confirmation’.  This is not a requirement of the WWVP Scheme. ORS offered to contact the organisations the caller mentioned in order to ensure they are aware of the WWVP Scheme and the meaning of general registration. 

Directorate: National Capital Authority

Issue: The caller suggested that boom gate parking should be used in the parliamentary triangle area to allow visitors to pay for as much parking as they need at the end of their trip, rather than running over time accidentally and getting a fine.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that some of the National Cultural Institutions do have boom gate carparks with this system in place such as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery and noted that this was a National Capital Authority responsibility, but that he could raise this matter with the NCA.

OUTCOME: Parking Operations telephoned the caller and explained that parking within the Parliamentary Triangle was the responsibility of the National Capital Authority. The caller was then provided the contact details of the Manager of Parking Services for the National Capital Authority.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: Troubling 7.30 Report story on electrocution of an electrician. Circuit breakers should be compulsory in all dwellings.

Response: The Chief Minister undertook to provide some advice on the current situation in the ACT and whether anything further could be done.

OUTCOME: Access Canberra, Construction and Client Services Division contacted the caller. The caller’s daughter is renting a property that has no Residual Current Detection (RCD). It was explained to the caller that since 2000 it has been compulsory to install RCD’s on Light and Power circuits in all new domestic electrical installations. Similarly, since 2007 it has been compulsory to install RCD’s on all Light and Power circuits in any new electrical installation in the ACT. The requirements are in AS/NZS 3000, and they are not retrospective. Any electrical installation done prior to the requirements coming into force may not have the RCD’s fitted.  In other states there are requirements for upgrading electrical safety devices at the time of a property sale and for rented properties, however there are no such requirements in the ACT.

Directorate: CSD

Issue: Lack of sun shelter at Boundless playground.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that Boundless was being progressively developed as the community was able to raise funds. The Chief Minister noted that sun shelter or shade structures would need to be considered in the next stage. The Chief Minister noted that the same issue had been raised for the Pod playground at the arboretum and that shade structures would be installed there.

OUTCOME: An official contacted the caller to discuss the future plans for further stages of Boundless, as well as shade structures in general. The call also covered the need to balance the amount of shade over both the warmer and cooler months.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Builders waste around Ngunnawal new development.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that TAMS did a blitz last year and undertook to follow up on the examples mentioned by the caller.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and explained this kind of problem is common around new development sites, TAMS is responsible for cleaning the reserve and TAMS will put this site on the list for the next blitz. An inspection has been undertaken and the rubbish cleaned up on the public unleased land. The City rangers have also been requested to do an inspection of the builders in the area and follow up with non compliance issues.

Directorate: EPD

Issue: The caller applauded the community nursing service for being wonderful, friendly and efficient. The caller then brought up the issue of Wilson parking in Civic opposite the lakeside. The caller asked whether there were other sites in civic that were no longer ACT Government carparks?

Response: The Chief Minister noted that the site had been sold about eight years ago to a consortia and many attempts had been made to find tenants resulting in Wilson parking running it on their behalf. The Chief Minister noted that a number of government carpark sites within London Circuit had been identified for development or scheduled for release, such as for a possible site for a new Canberra Theatre.

OUTCOME: The forthcoming ACT Government parking policy will seek to improve parking through efficient provision, including management of supply and demand.

Directorate: CSD

Issue: Funding for women's refuges in context of domestic violence. The caller noted that many refuge services had to turn people away due to lack of funding. The caller asked the ACT Government to commit more funding and to bridge the gap left by the withdrawal of Commonwealth funding.

Response: The Chief Minister noted Minister Corbell recently committed an additional $300,000 of ACT Government funding to combat domestic violence. The Chie Minister noted that the Commonwealth Government had withdrawn funding in many areas, including Health and Education and that the ACT Government did not have sufficient funds to replace it all. The Chief Minister noted that the ACT Government had committed additional funds, was careful in how it prioritised resources but could not fill every gap left by the Commonwealth.

OUTCOME: The Office for Women contacted the caller and advised that on 23 March 2015, Minister Morrison announced Commonwealth funding for 2015-2017 National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which is to prioritise providing services for victims of domestic violence.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The lights at corner of Marbyinong Ave and Baldwin Drive in Kaleen - from there to Ginninderra Drive used to be 80km/h but now the speed limit has changed to 60km/h. There was a temporary sign there when the change happened but that has gone and a permanent sign is now needed.

Response: The Chief Minister noted the issue and undertook to investigate.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and explained that the original design has a permanent 60km/h sign. Roads ACT undertook to verify that the sign is there and, if missing, would install a replacement by early April.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: In NSW people parking illegally (without a permit) in a disabled parking zone are fined $519 with a loss of 1 demerit point but in the ACT, the current fine is only $216 with no loss of demerit points. The caller felt the loss of the demerit fine was the greater deterrent to this behaviour. The caller also inquired about the possible allocation of additional disabled parking spaces.

Response: The Chief Minister undertook to investigate the situation and noted that any changes would have to be part of a future budget process. The Chief Minister noted that there were some national standards that applied and that the government constantly reviewed parking provision. The Chief Minister noted that with a new dedicated Minister for Parking he could task Minister Gentleman with looking at the rejuvenation of parking assets.

OUTCOME: Parking Operations telephoned the caller and discussed her suggestion to increase the parking fines and the loss of demerit points for vehicles parking illegally in disabled parking bays.  Parking Operations advised the caller that they regularly conducted patrols of permit parking areas and explained the rationale behind the current parking infringement system.

Directorate: Asbestos Response Taskforce

Issue: Mr Fluffy owner asking why the ACT Government will not reimburse costs of private demolition of Mr Fluffy affected homes.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that this matter would be best pursued off air and that the Asbestos Response Taskforce would be in touch with the caller to discuss.

Action: The Taskforce contacted the caller and advised that private demolition of affected properties is not financially supported by the ACT Government.  Through the ACT Government’s Buyback and Demolition Program, demolitions are taking place in bulk for the purpose of achieving efficiencies and economies of scale to defray costs associated with the program.  The Taskforce encourages affected homeowners to contact the Taskforce to discuss their individual circumstances on 13 22 81.

Directorate: Access Canberra and TAMS

Issue: A corner block in Farrer in the caller’s street is very overgrown and neglected. The caller noted that someone was renting the property, it had been partially demolished, and had rubbish on the nature strip as well. The caller noted that on Wait Street a large tree had major limbs that had fallen off and been cut in sections, but left for more than 6 months without being cleaned up.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that there were provisions in relations to dirty blocks and undertook to investigate the issues raised by the caller.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and was able to determine the correct location of the block.  The caller was advised that the block appears to be a work in progress and very untidy. A work request has been raised to revisit the site and clean up the remaining branches. The caller was advised that the issue of the dirty block should be forwarded to ACTPLA for follow-up.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: Men’s reproductive rights. The caller noted that after the point of conception young men could be ‘forced’ into fatherhood following an accidental pregnancy.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that this was part of the responsibility of any individual undertaking a sexual act. The Chief Minister stated that he could see the challenges that may be involved for young men, but reinforced that there was also an onus of responsibility, especially on men, to use contraception.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: The caller noted the Canberra City bowling club closure and other bowling club closures around the city in the last 5 years. The caller expressed concern at the loss of social fabric with little of the development money going back into bowls facilities. The caller would like a new facility in Moncrieff.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that Sport and Recreation had worked with Bowls ACT for their master plan on where sporting facilities would need to be located in future, and in particular the need for a facility in Gungahlin.

OUTCOME: An officer from Sport and Recreation Services spoke with the caller and informed them that the Review of Bowls Facilities commissioned by Bowls ACT will provide an overview of the current state of facilities in the ACT and where there may be a need for additional facilities (particularly Gungahlin). The review will also look at how the sport can provide a better return on investment for licensed clubs through its membership structure and other revenue opportunities.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The intersection in Holt - Southern Cross Drive and Stark St - is dangerous.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that this was a problem intersection and that the ACT Government was looking at options for improvement and that something may be considered in a future budget.

OUTCOME:A message was left with the caller providing details of the relevant officer in TAMS to contact. Roads ACT is aware of the intersection in question and options are being investigated as resourcing allows. Line of sight issues can be reported to Access Canberra (Canberra Connect) on 13 22 81 and City Rangers will investigate.

Callers Not Answered On Air

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller wished to alert the Chief Minister to the appalling graffiti on Hindmarsh Drive. The caller said the ACT should consider outlawing spray cans.

OUTCOME: The graffiti on Hindmarsh Drive is on private assets and Territory and Municipal Services do not remove graffiti from private assets. While TAMS has contacted asset owners and requested that they remove graffiti in the past, this approach has often had little effect. Any investigation of the banning of spray cans would need to be discussed the business/retail community. Graffiti can be reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81 for remediation on ACT Government assets.

SMS/TEXT

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Thanked the Chief Minister for grass cutting in the Monash area. Noted it is all looking great, just a little more work on the roundabouts is needed, but the caller understood this was on its way.

Response: The Chief Minister noted the caller’s message.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Ask him what’s going on with the civic pool site?

Response: The Chief Minister noted the existing facility was 60 years old (beyond its anticipated lifespan) and had a leak. The Chief Minister noted a new pool was needed for the city and a site had been identified and would go to market in the near future. In the meantime, with the outdoor pool closed over winter, the government would do some investigation, but that there was a risk that if the leak could not be fixed over the next 8 months, then it may be closed for longer than the usual winter period. The Chief Minister also noted that a new pool was needed for the Molonglo/Weston Creek area and that this was on the agenda for the Stromlo Forrest Park precinct.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: We need a better swimming pool in civic Mr Barr. All the pools are over-crowded. Canberra is a hot dry arid city & will get worse. We need more pools.

Response: The Chief Minister noted the existing facility was 60 years old (beyond its anticipated lifespan) and had a leak. The Chief Minister noted a new pool was needed for the city and a site had been identified and would go to market in the near future. In the meantime, with the outdoor pool closed over winter, the government would do some investigation, but that there was a risk that if the leak could not be fixed over the next 8 months, then it may be closed for longer than the usual winter period. The Chief Minister also noted that a new pool was needed for the Molonglo/Weston Creek area and that this was on the agenda for the Stromlo Forrest Park precinct.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: A number of messages from callers expressed concern with the development of the Services Club/MOCCA site.

OUTCOME: The government is working with MOCCA, the Services Club and Telopea Park School to ensure that all benefit from the government’s decisions to enable the urban renewal of Manuka and the redevelopment of Manuka Oval. The government’s commitment to the land swap with the Services Club will see the redevelopment of the club in a new location closer to the Manuka shopping precinct and the return of a much loved community gathering space for our returned service men and women and our defence families, along with additional mixed use development to support the vibrancy of the existing commercial centre. The move of MOCCA will ensure a new, high quality childcare centre with increased places for families in the inner south and brand new sporting facilities for the Telopea School. The government will continue to work with all parties and the community to ensure transitions are as smooth as possible.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Chief Minister says Services Club doesn't have the resources to rebuild. But then, neither does MOCCA. Am currently sitting next to a small MOCCA client who deserves NOT to miss out in this 'limited resources' roundabout!

Response: The Chief Minister noted that this was why MOCCA has the option to have a new centre built for it, with greater capacity to accept more children, with first right of refusal to be the tenant.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: With a Canberra woman being murdered almost weekly because of domestic violence what is the Chief Minister and the government doing about this hideous, now common occurrence.

OUTCOME: The ACT Government takes the issue of domestic and family violence very seriously and is strongly committed to addressing violence in personal relationships, acknowledging that all parts of our society need to be involved in working towards a solution. The ACT Government has announced a major family violence legislative reform program that will address the recommendations from the Australian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions’ Report titled Family Violence – A National Legal Response (Family Violence Report).

On 2 April 2015 the Domestic Violence Prevention Council (the Council) held an Extraordinary Meeting which allowed a wide range of participants representing diverse areas of expertise in the ACT to provide input and evidence-based advice about the status of work to address and prevent domestic violence, and practical measures the ACT could take to improve outcomes. The Extraordinary Meeting assisted the Council to identify the key issues in the ACT relating to addressing domestic and family violence, including sexual assault. The Council has provided the Attorney-General with a formal report with recommendations which will contribute to informing the Government’s reform to laws in the ACT. The Council’s report to the Attorney-General on the Extraordinary Meeting is now available online.http://cdn.justice.act.gov.au/resources/uploads/New_Victim_Support/DVPC_Extraordinary_meeting_Report_to_AG.pdf

In addition, the ACT Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP) also provides an important and effective response to family violence in the Territory. This program is a coordinated interagency response to family violence incidents that come to the attention of the police and proceed to prosecution.  Agencies involved include the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, the Director of Public Prosecutions, ACT Corrective Services, Victim Support ACT, and ACT Policing.

The FVIP also includes the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS), a community based crisis support service that works with all victims of family and domestic violence in the ACT, including men. The DVCS offers a range of services and supports including crisis intervention, information and referrals for women, men and children, and court support for those who have been subjected to violence. DVCS works with ACT Policing to provide direct crisis intervention responses at the time of the incident, and also provides 24/7 telephone support - of particular note has been the marked increase of calls to their crisis line each year.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: I thought all houses in ACT were fitted with circuit-breakers - one of the benefits of Canberra being a planned city.

OUTCOME: Since 2000 it has been compulsory to install Residual Current Detection (RCD)’s on Light and Power circuits in all new domestic electrical installations. Similarly, since 2007 it has been compulsory to install RCD’s on all Light and Power circuits in any new electrical installation in the ACT. The requirements are in AS/NZS 3000, and they are not retrospective. Any electrical installation done prior to the requirements coming into force may not have the RCD’s fitted.  In other states there are requirements for upgrading electrical safety devices at the time of a property sale and for rented properties, however there are no such requirements in the ACT.

Directorate: NCA

Issue: When are we going to have an arch over Commonwealth Avenue bridge?

Response: The Chief Minister indicated this was a matter for the National Capital Authority.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Good morning Chief Minister. Can something be done about the untidiness along the GDE under the Bandjalong St overpass at Aranda? It's really messy with weeds and has been for quite some time.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that an unusual amount of rain had caused more growth than normal and that TAMS had done some additional work to address this issue and that the weeds were now dying and there was much less new growth of grass and weeds.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and informed her that this is a particularly difficult area to maintain due to the busy traffic and high speeds. TAMS undertakes the works on a yearly basis and the works have recently been completed for 2014-15. The caller was also informed that an inspection had been undertaken of the area by the officer in person and they didn’t see any of the usual weeds present so the officer was hopeful that the weeds the caller was referring to are now gone.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Hi, there's a tree growing in the concrete under the Commonwealth Ave bridge, as it crosses Parkes Way. It is getting quite big and perhaps should be cut down before it does any damage?

Response: The Chief Minister undertook to investigate the issue.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller. The tree in question has been assessed as being on National Capital Authority (NCA) land. The caller was advised that the NCA has been notified of the issue.

Directorate: EPD - Environment

Issue: Chief Minister when is the ACT going to introduce deposit legislation? There are bottles and coffee cups all over the place.

OUTCOME: EPD noted the caller’s concern that there are coffee cups and bottles from the cafes in Braddon along the streets between Braddon and the City Centre. The ACT Government will be a stakeholder to contribute to the announced NSW container deposit scheme development during 2016 and 2017. The caller suggested that an additional garbage bin could be installed in Braddon at the City Centre end. EPD will pass this request through to City Services, TAMSD.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Chief Minister, our garden city is looking a little ragged. More weeding, mowing, pruning etc is necessary. What are the plans to get back on top of this?

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and provided advice on the mowing program for suburbs and arterial roads and information on the employment of additional resources to target mowing and weed control across Canberra, in particular weed control along arterial roads. 

The caller was particularly concerned about weeds in residential streets and where they were blocking drains due to residents being elderly and not being able to maintain their verge.  Pruning was also an issue on residential verges. Following advice from TAMS, the caller is going to report specific areas of concern through Fix My Street so that they can be addressed by the appropriate area within TAMS.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Hi Andrew my bus is always late and often does not show up. It’s worse since network 14. Can you fix things please?

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller who stated her son’s morning school bus was often late or did not turn up. The caller was unsure of the school bus number but stated it may be the 39. There has been some service issue with the 39 but, since March 2015, the service has been running on time and with no overcrowding issues. The caller has the contact number of the TAMS officer to report any further issues.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: Safety switches (RCD) mandatory since early 90s but not fitted to older houses. Some States required retrofitting for rental properties - not sure about ACT.

Action: No further action

OUTCOME: Since 2000 it has been compulsory to install Residual Current Detection (RCD)’s on Light and Power circuits in all new domestic electrical installations. Similarly, since 2007 it has been compulsory to install RCD’s on all Light and Power circuits in any new electrical installation in the ACT. The requirements are in AS/NZS 3000, and they are not retrospective. Any electrical installation done prior to the requirements coming into force may not have the RCD’s fitted.  In other states there are requirements for upgrading electrical safety devices at the time of a property sale and for rented properties, however there are no such requirements in the ACT.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: Canberra Diving Academy only have the Canberra Olympic Pool in Canberra other closest pools are up to 3 hours away The Government has  always been supportive please continue to help looking after our small sporting clubs.

Response: The Chief Minister acknowledged that a diving facility was needed as part of a new pool facility either at Stromlo or in civic.

OUTCOME: An officer from Sport and Recreation Services left a message with the caller to discuss the issue raised.  The caller attended a round table discussion with Minister Rattenbury on 1 April 2015 to discuss priority issues/concerns for key aquatic facility stakeholder groups. 

Directorate: EPD -Planning

Issue: Chief Minister I wanted to express my support for the light rail and hope that it extends to the airport and Tuggeranong asap.

OUTCOME: An EPD officer contacted the caller to provide further information about the Light Rail Master Plan project which is currently investigating future extension of light rail to other parts of Canberra, including Canberra Airport and Tuggeranong. The caller noted her support for Capital Metro and Government’s consideration of future extensions.

Directorate: CMTEDD

Issue: Hi good morning just want to know what's happening with Taxi industry review. Is ACT government doing anything to make taxis more affordable for the drivers who are actually the main workforce?

Response: The Chief Minister noted that consultation was underway to create a level playing field to allow new entrants without more onerous regulatory requirements. The Chief Minister noted the importance of balancing all interests, but highlighted the importance of a better system for consumers which would increase patronage and boost the system overall, including benefits for drivers.

OUTCOME: A CMTEDD officer contacted the caller and noted the caller’s concerns regarding the high cost of operating standard taxis, the high and rising levels of taxi fares, and the viability of taxi drivers. The caller also asked if there was an opportunity to provide a written submission to the Taxi Review. The officer informed the caller that the Taxi Review is still in the consultation and analysis phase, and it is considering the viability of taxi drivers as part of its goal to create a level playing field for existing and new participants in the industry.  The officer also stated that, as part of seeking a more level playing field, various costs facing taxi operators were also being considered. The officer also noted that the Taxi Review will conduct a Community Consultation process, through which the caller could participate, and that he could stay informed on progress of the Taxi Review through the Government webpage:http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/policystrategic/regreform/current#TaxiIndustryInnovationReview

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: What with there being an undeniable issue with people who do not display handicap permits using handicap spaces. What about a process which could allow for cellphone pictures of the offending vehicles to be sent to a dedicated mail box of the….. [text cut off]

OUTCOME: Last year, the Chief Minister convened a roundtable of disability stakeholders, and relevant government agencies, to discuss how government can better manage disability parking in the ACT. As a result, the Chief Minister asked the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate to continue these roundtables regularly.

Under the ACT’s road transport legislation, the driver of a vehicle without a valid mobility permit who parks in a disabled parking bay may be fined. Similarly, a person who uses a mobility permit without proper authority can be fined. ACT Parking Inspectors undertake inspections of mobility permit use and treat the patrol of disabled parking bays areas as a priority. Over 550 infringements have been issued this calendar year for mobility permit related offences.

The ACT Government is aware that New South Wales has recently introduced a demerit point penalty for drivers who park in a disabled parking bay without a valid mobility permit.  The ACT Government will monitor these changes in NSW and provide advice on whether similar changes or other improvements should be made to the ACT’s current disability permit parking system.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Re Kambah Village ... The state of the place is a mess. I know it's the responsibility of the owners to make it better. But surely pressure from your office to fix the place up and listen to the residents can't go astray.

OUTCOME: A TAMS officer contacted the caller and spoke about the state of the shops at Kambah Village. The caller was advised that a team will be at the Kambah Village shops on 2 April 2015 to tidy up and perform routine cleaning and maintenance. The caller was advised that the team will perform removal of leaf litter, pressure washing of the pavement and filling in any holes in the crushed granite areas. These works will be completed by 10 April 2015.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: We have an aging population and should not be removing bowling greens for MORE apartments in Braddon!

OUTCOME: The ACT Government advised that any planning changes proposed for these sites will go through the normal planning approvals required on any redevelopment site.