Directorate: Economic Development
Issue: Could the Minister rethink the possibility of moving the visitors centre from Northboume Avenue to Regatta Point, as a result of light rail. Its current position is ideal for visitors driving into Canberra. It should be maintained in its current site and not Regatta Point site which is totally impractical.
Response: Minister Rattenbury explained that the Information Centre is not being moved because of light rail. The ACT Government has been in discussion with the National Capital Authority, who are keen to reinvigorate Regatta Point – it’s central, it’s convenient and increasingly visitors are not arriving by car, but flying in and staying in the city, so Northbourne Avenue is quite inconvenient for those travellers.
Directorate: Economic Development
Issue: Why was no part of the ACT included in the NBN deployment announcements last month? Especially when all other states are getting new deployments.
Response: The Minister said he did not have details of the rollout but could follow it up. The Minister also pointed out the TransACT network provided coverage to a lot of the Territory and many residents had access to that very fast network.
OUTCOME: An ACT Public Servant contacted the caller and discussed the status of the rollout as we understand it, and noted that the ACT was not included in the last two announcements by NBN regarding future rollouts. CMTEDD has contacted NBN for advice regarding future rollout in Canberra however, at present no response has been received. The most recent advice from a December 2014 NBN media release provides an indicative view of scheduled construction work across Canberra up to June 2016:
Issue: The drainage around the bubbler at the Tuggeranong Dog Park is broken again. Dogs and muddy puddles are not a good mix.
OUTCOME: The drain at the bubbler at the dog park has been cleared and is now draining correctly. The area of wash out around the bubbler has since been rectified.
Issue: Received a rate notice yesterday. 77% higher than 5 years ago, my pension has increased by 11% in same period. Totally unsustainable and yet more is to come. Not revenue neutral from by point of view. Discuss?
Response: The Minister noted the ACT Government has been undergoing a process of tax reform to shift from inefficient taxes, such as taxes on insurance and stamp duty, to an increase in rates. This is good for the government because it provides a steady source of revenue and means the government can plan in a more sustainable way, and provides a more steady source of income. It does create difficulty for some people at the lower end of the income spectrum, the strategy has been a front ending one in the sense that insurance taxes have been removed quite rapidly and the Treasurer’s expectation is that the rate of increase of rates will slow down now as the transition evens out and so we should not see such rapid increases in the future. The Minister acknowledged that Mr Fluffy had put unexpected pressure on the ACT Budget but that people were overestimating the impact of light rail. The ACT Government spends $1 ½ billion a year on health, another $1 billion or so on education each year and that puts the cost of light rail in context. We’ve also spent more than $1 billion in the last 10 years on roads – it costs money to run a city like Canberra.
Issue: Love the upgraded Majura Road but it was quite dark and dangerous driving through fog last night with no street lights. Are there plans to include these?
Response: The Minister said the Majura Parkway has just opened up as a high speed arterial road and it is very well lit. The Minister was not expecting to make major upgrades to Majura Road because the focus and resources have been put into the Majura Parkway and Majura Road will become an access road and a secondary road now.
OUTCOME: While the Parkway is well lit, it is only the interchanges that are lit. There is no midblock lighting on the Parkway between interchanges; midblock lighting is not required under current Australian Standards on rural freeways. There are no plans to provide street lighting on Majura Road given its rural nature.
Directorate: Economic Development
Issue: Are there any plans to relocate the coach terminal to near the airport with completion of the Majura Parkway. The current situation with the terminal in civic is awkward to drop people off but parking to wait for arrivals.
Response: The Minister said there were no plans to move the Jolimont Centre to the airport and it had not been raised with him before as many people find the drop off point in civic very convenient, especially for people coming without a car. The Minister agreed it could be hard to find a park to pick up at a busy time of day, but that moving to the airport would be a lot less convenient for a lot of people.
Directorate: ACT Police
Issue: Do the ACT police ever Issue fine notices to motorists for vehicles with faulty headlights? If not, why not? On any night, I see dozens of vehicles with one light not functioning. Dangerous.
Response: The Minister noted that ACT Police could issue infringements for that and there had been emphasis on rapid technology for numberplate recognition and also on vehicle safety. The Minister also noted that many people were forgetting to put headlights on when exiting car parks that were heavily lit.
Issue: for the last 4 years, we and other neighbours have endured continual barking and property mess at the hands of nearby residents. They are currently in court with 118 charges regarding noise and animal cruelty. The case has been going for 7 months and we still endure the barking and anxiety about the welfare of the remaining animals. Why can the ACT govt remove all animals from these people pending a magistrate’s ruling? Whilst helpful, we are told by govt representatives that we should still complain through the relevant agencies but will have to wait for a court ruling. Perplexed!
Response: The Minister was aware of the specific case and it was before the courts at the moment so he could not speak too specifically. However, the Minister noted there had been a number of cases recently in the animal cruelty space that had raised questions about loopholes in the law and the Minister was in discussion with RSPCA about some changes the government could make to those laws to improve the situation, including that if someone is charged the animal must stay with the RSPCA for the duration of the court case, which is expensive for the RSPCA and not good for the animal because they are housed in a pen rather than with a family. The Minister flagged that the government may need to look at a number of changes to the law in this space.
Issue: Hi who do you complain to about neighbours cats on the loose in cat containment suburb (wright)?? Sick of poo on my garden!!
Response: The Minister explained that for a specific complaint about a roaming cat in a cat containment suburb you could contact Canberra Connect and the rangers would come out and have a chat to the neighbours and particularly talk to them about their responsibilities in the cat containment area. The Minister noted the government was raising its efforts to remind people of those responsibilities, as compliance was very good with the first generation of residents because they moved in knowing the rules, but subsequent owners or renters were not as familiar, so the level of education needed to continue.
OUTCOME: The Manager of Ranger Services contacted the caller and discussed the issue. The caller was uncertain whether the cat causing the issue is domestic or stray. The caller was advised of ways to report roaming cats to Domestic Animal Services for investigation. A letter will be sent to Wright residents advising them of their obligations to keep their cats contained.
Issue: Went to pick up my daughter from Jolimont at 9:15pm last night. Taxis occupied nearly every space, including those not designated for them. Dropping my elderly mother off at Jolimont centre 7am at drop off area full of taxis. Unbelievable 9-10 taxis all getting coffee??
Response: The Minister said that perhaps the government could look into the balance of short term parking in the area, as some people needed 30mins to use the businesses in the area, while others needed set down/pick up zones.
OUTCOME: An officer of TAMS contacted the caller and advised that Roads ACT previously investigated and reviewed the parking arrangement at the Jolimont Centre in consultation with key stakeholders including the Jolimont Centre management, Taxi Association and relevant tenants. As result Roads ACT changed the taxi zone, loading zone and short stay parking to “No Parking – Pick up and Set down only” at this location.
It is an enforcement issue and drivers shouldn’t park there for more than 2 minutes. Roads ACT will forward the enquiry to Parking Operations and the caller was also encouraged to do so.
Issue: Could you please complete the rejuvenation of the paving for the block around Jolimont and civic PO. For guests arriving the patchwork of cracked broken aver is not a good welcoming look.
OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and explained the block was rehabilitated except the ANZ side of Rudd Street which will be considered in a future capital program.
Issue: Can Actew please revert to its old electricity billing scheme to allow the NCA to run the Captain Cook jet again at full height (and more often)?
OUTCOME: There has been no change to the way ActewAGL bill the customer for the Captain Cook Fountain. In 2009 a meter exchange was carried out at this site and a time of use meter installed. However, all usage is still being billed at the same tariff plan as the old meter ie, commercial rates. Rates have increased overtime through normal price revisions but ActewAGL Retail has not changed the “electricity billing scheme”.
Issue: What is being done to make the Bunda Street Shareway safer for pedestrians? I walk through there regularly and cars still think they have right of way and the signage isn’t that obvious.
Response: The Minister noted that he rode through there on his regular cycle commute and had noted all road users being very polite and that the uncertainty had increased caution, but that as a new thing, it needed to be monitored carefully and perhaps some more signage might be needed.
OUTCOME: Roads ACT have carried out a post construction review on existing signs based on public feedback and additional signs are being proposed to educate and enhance public awareness of the shareway. New signs are being designed and will be installed as soon as they become available.
Issue: Can TAMS please look at a better way other than cutting down the out of control bamboo on Red Hill behind Deakin?
Response: The Minister noted the bamboo was a noxious weed and the team was working hard to get rid of it.
OUTCOME: The caller was contacted by a TAMS Ranger. The caller was concerned about mowing that had been conducted behind the houses causing spread of bamboo. Control methods and opportunities to involve the park care group were discussed. The caller was also keen to be involved in assisting park work on Red Hill.
Issue: Can the rates notice be like a normal bill which shows a payment history not just the amount owing? This had been asked for many times.
Response: The Minister said the government would take that on board and see what could do and there may be an IT answer to that.
OUTCOME: The caller advised he would like to see his rates bill include information about transactions since the last bill. For example, not just a figure for the opening balance, rather a list of all transactions (payments and new charges including interest etc) that occurred between the last notice and the current notice, similar to the ACTEW bill. The rates bill is generated to advise of an upcoming payment requirement, rather than a ‘usage’ type transaction of what has already occurred. The ACT Revenue Office current rates IT System can’t cater for this level of detail on the notice, but the government has provided funding for a replacement system, which when available may consider including this level of detail.
Issue: In this year’s budget, $100,000 was allocated for feasibility studies at Belconnen, West Belconnen and Tuggeranong to establish local walking and cycling path connections. How has this progressed and is there opportunity for community engagement?
OUTCOME: An officer of TAMS contacted the caller and was that the feasibility studies are still in the early scoping process, with engagement of a consultant to occur in the near future.
The resident was also informed that as a standard process of feasibility study development community engagement is undertaken. The officer enquired if the resident was happy to be further contacted during the formal community engagement, which they agreed to.
Issue: The soft drink company sponsored fitness equipment at the yacht club locale from the 1980's needs repair please!!
OUTCOME: TAMS is aware of the problem with the fitness equipment at these locations. A solution for the problem is currently being considered.
Issue: Bought my house 3 years ago when stamp duty at highest - now getting slugged again in rates - any relief for people in that situation?
OUTCOME: The tax reform program is being implemented over a 20 year period and over this time people usually would change house 2 times (i.e. every 7 years on average). Therefore, although stamp duty was applicable at the start of the cycle, any purchase over the transition period will have substantially reduced stamp duty.
Issue: Two weeks ago I raised the issue of a complete absence in the ACT of signs on multiple lane roads saying "Keep left unless overtaking". The Chief Minister said he thought there were some signs somewhere; I'd love to know where. Meanwhile, slow drivers continue to drive side by side on dual lane roads, holding up traffic & causing general annoyance, while the ACT Government does nothing about it. Since other jurisdictions DO have such signs, why doesn’t the ACT?
OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and informed them that "Keep left unless overtaking” signs are located at Ginninderra Drive between Mouat Street and Kingsford Smith Drive; Tuggeranong Parkway between Glenloch Interchange and Drakeford Drive; Monaro highway between Canberra Avenue and Johnson Drive; Barton Highway between the NSW border and Northbourne Avenue and Bellenden Street. The officer explained on multi lane roads with a posted speed limit greater than 80 km/h a driver generally must not drive in the right lane unless overtaking or turning right or other exceptions in accordance with rule the Australian Road Rules (130). There is no requirement to erect ‘keep left unless overtaking’ signs for the police to enforce this requirement. On multi lane roads with a posted speed limit of 80km/hr or less a driver may drive in the right lane unless there is a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign. The caller was advised that he can report drivers to the police through Crime Stoppers. Roads ACT will consider the use of Variable Message Signs to promote ‘keep left unless overtaking’ behaviour in consultation with Justice and Community Safety Directorate.
Issue: From last fortnight’s chief minister talkback: still no action on issue of cleaning up contractor's mess after the laying fibre optics at Tharwa drive/Lawrence whacket walkway underpass. Drains now all clogged thru to Casey cres ...."fix my street" ....well ignored In the southern suburbs
OUTCOME: The ACT Government engaged a contractor to install fibre optic connectivity to the South Tuggeranong Fire & Rescue Station in April. This work involved the digging of a trench at the Tharwa Drive/Lawrence Whacket Walkway underpass. An onsite inspection of the area by Government staff was conducted on 28 July with a meeting held on 29 July with the contractor to discuss site remediation. The contractor has agreed to rectify the site commencing Thursday 6 August with completion by 7 August. This work will involve the cleaning of the path and drain entrance, levelling and re-seeding of the soil and the installation of soil meshing to prevent any future soil erosion at the site.
Issue: Why can’t the buses use the proposed tram line? They share in most other cities and even though the express buses will be killed off there will still be some. It would relieve Northbourne after a lane is removed for push bikes.
OUTCOME: An officer from the Capital Metro Agency contacted the caller and discussed his concerns in further detail. As part of the design process, the alignment of the tracks within the corridor was investigated to identify the best option. The median alignment, dedicated to light rail only, was chosen as the preferred alignment for Stage 1 as it would require fewer modifications to intersections; cause less access issues during construction; cost less than other options; and have less of an impact on the current landscape of the corridor. In order to have buses running on the same alignment as light rail it would be necessary to widen the alignment which would result in a significant increase in costs. This would not be acceptable to the National Capital Authority as it does not fit in with the National Capital Plan – the strategic plan for Canberra.
Issue: Mr Rattenbury, are you aware that ACTEW takes all solar power generated by households at the wholesale rate and recharges it back at the retail rate. This is the case even if the household solar generator uses the power at the time it is generated. Householders would expect to get the full benefit of free power if it is used at the time it is generated. How is this fair?
OUTCOME: Customers are receiving the full benefit of solar as expected. Solar generation is used on-site by the household. This reduces the amount electricity purchased from the network at retail rates.
Under net-metering household electricity demand is met first by solar. It is only at times when the solar generation exceeds household demand that excess generation is exported to the network.
Page 5 of ActewAGL’s consumer guide for solar explains net-metering and also recommends where possible that customers shift loads (e.g. dishwasher) into daytime periods to maximise bill savings from solar.
Issue: Have promises to make the air disaster memorial more accessible for people to view been implemented? You can’t drive to it as you used to be able to years ago. Land use around the site is a mess. Why can’t you drive to it? It is a very important part of Canberra history. The federal government would be happy to take that site as it was a liberal minister killed there.
OUTCOME: The caller was advised vehicle access to the Air Disaster Memorial may be arranged through Access Canberra. Specifically, a walking track is signposted to the memorial and a sign at the walking track car park notes that visitors may arrange vehicle access through Access Canberra. Vehicle access is normally not permitted to limit vandalism, illegal dumping and to stop access to the adjacent military firing range and private property.
Directorate: ACT Policing
Issue: Moving from NSW to the ACT I have noticed a decline or even a lack of random breath tests carried out on ACT roads. Being here for four years now I have only seen one random breath testing area. Why is this? And is there going to be an increase of this vital piece of road safety?
OUTCOME: The ACT Government is committed to maintaining a safe community, which includes safety on ACT roads. This commitment is demonstrated through the ACT Road Safety Strategy 2011-12 of which ACT Policing is a key stakeholder. ACT Policing’s role is not just about enforcing the law; it also focuses its activities on changing driver behaviour through guiding and promoting safe road use in the ACT. Removing impaired drivers from ACT roads is a strong focus for ACT Policing.
One of the ways to ensure that impaired drivers are removed from our roads is by conducting Random Breath Testing (RBT) on a regular basis. The number of RBTs conducted by ACT Policing in the last four financial years is as follows:
These statistics show that the RBTs conducted by ACT Policing are increasing on a yearly basis, with significant increases in the last two financial years. The types of RBT activities conducted by ACT Policing are mobile RBTs and targeted RBTs. Mobile RBTs are carried out by all police officers when they stop vehicles on a random basis throughout their shifts. ACT Policing are rostered on shift 24/7 and as such RBTs are conducted anywhere, anytime. Targeted RBTs are large scale operations where there are numerous police officers present in one location to conduct the RBTs.