Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 26 June 2015


Directorate: CMTEDD – Asbestos Response Taskforce

Issue: The caller is a Mr Fluffy homeowner moving house this week. The solar panels were moved yesterday but the caller was told he would have to pay $400 in ACT Planning charges to reposition the meter. The caller had raised this issue with the Asbestos Response Taskforce but they did not know about the fee and had not got back in touch with him about it.

Response: The Chief Minister said that he would raise this with the Asbestos Response Taskforce and get an answer for the caller.

OUTCOME: The Asbestos Response Taskforce is in communications with the Caller’s service provider/s to obtain clarity on what the charges cover with a view to settling this issue on his behalf. The Relocation Assistance Grant provides financial assistance to eligible affected homeowners as they work through the government’s Buyback Program and transition to a new home.  The Asbestos Response Taskforce also assists in connecting affected homeowners with relevant support, discounts and tailored assistance available from banks and financial institutions, utilities, local businesses and community services.

Directorate: ETD

Issue: The caller has two children with special needs but only one of them is in the special needs unit at school while the other one is just over the threshold and in mainstream school. Only the one in the special needs school stream is eligible to catch the special needs transport bus. Why can’t they get on the same bus?

Response: The Chief Minister said he would follow up with the special needs transport provider.

OUTCOME: The Minister for Education and Training, and the Special Needs Transport Unit of the Education and Training Directorate made direct contact with the family regarding the children’s NDIS packages and the inclusion of transport. The Directorate is unable to influence the outcome of an NDIS decision, however it is possible for NDIS plans to include “reasonable and necessary” supports for families such as transport.   

Directorate: CSD

Issue: The caller lives in his own house with public housing properties on both the right and left sides. While he has maintained his own fences for years, he is now no longer physically capable and needs assistance from the government. The caller contacted the government who referred him to a private company, who gave him a reference number and then never got back in touch with him, not even as a courtesy call.

Response: The Chief Minister said he would get the facilities maintenance people to get in touch with the caller.

OUTCOME: Housing ACT spoke with the caller on 6 July 2015. Arrangements were made to inspect the fences.

Directorate: 1) TAMS 2) CMTEDD – Workforce Capability and Governance

Issue: 1) The caller raised the idea of ‘playgrounds for older people’ to get some fun exercise. 2) The caller suggested calorie counters could be included in all government mail-outs, like rates notices or car registration reminders, to combat the obesity epidemic. These could also be provided at shopfronts.

Response: 1) The Chief Minister said this was a good idea and was being taken into account in the development of outdoor fitness stations. 2) The Chief Minister said that this information was already readily available online, but that not everyone had access to the internet and perhaps this could be looked at.

OUTCOME: The caller was contacted and informed of what projects TAMS are currently delivering that align to the Healthy Weight Initiative and will encourage Canberrans to lead more healthy and active lifestyles. Projects include installation of new fitness equipment and an Age-friendly suburbs active travel project.  There are 20 fitness sites that have been implemented throughout Canberra. Health promotion ideas were also discussed including advertising and healthy food brochures.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Signage from Sydney to Canberra when turning off the Hume Highway is insufficient. This should have bigger better signs to welcome international tourists and others, possibly with lighting at night-time.

Response: The Chief Minister noted the land was in NSW and that there are Australian road signing rules that had to be complied with but that perhaps it might be possible to have some more signs further up the highway.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised that the signage provided on NSW roads is the responsibility of Roads and Maritime Services NSW.  The signage size and placement is as per the requirements of the Australian Standards.  The customer’s comments have been passed onto RMS NSW for their consideration.

Directorate: EPD

Issue: For the long-term strategic planning of the city, the caller had real concerns about the current divided planning system. The caller asked if the planning portfolio could be given greater significance and become the sole responsibility of a minister if the government is re-elected in 2016.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that in an expanded Legislative Assembly next year, there could be one or two more Ministers, but that there were still 30 portfolios to share around. The Chief Minister noted that Ministers would be likely to have 3 or 4 portfolios each in future, rather than up to eight as in the past, which would allow for greater concentration on the significant portfolios but that a single portfolio for one Minister would not be possible.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller noted that the paint had faded on the pedestrian crossing on Carruthers Street going from Deakin into Curtin as you turn down past St Andrews Village to go on to Adelaide Avenue and was now nearly invisible and that this was dangerous for lots of elderly pedestrians. The caller also was concerned about a low divider between two lanes of traffic near the airport that cars could get stuck on, including a big truck the other day in the rain. It should be replaced with a higher barrier or the end of it painted to make it more visible.

Response: The Chief Minister said he would get a team on to repaint the pedestrian crossing and would get Roads ACT to investigate the road divider.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised that the low divider on the Monaro Highway is required due to a difference in deck height between lanes.  Bollard hazard markers have recently been reinstated to improve visibility.  These arrangements are temporary and will be removed when the Majura Parkway is completed. The officer also informed the caller that the crossing on Carruthers Street would be repainted within the next fortnight and sign upgrades at the crossings would be considered.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: The caller lives in an apartment complex in Barton next to the Parliamentary zone and their visitor carparks are always full of commuting office workers and the caller has been told there is little anyone can do about it. The caller wanted to know why it was illegal to clamp cars parking there?

Response: The Chief Minister said that if there was clear signage it may be possible to send out some parking inspectors to have a look, but the difficulty would be in knowing who was there legitimately and who was not. The Chief Minister said he would find out the answer about clamping cars on private property.

OUTCOME: Access Canberra Parking Operations contacted the caller and discussed all day parking in apartment complex parking bays by unauthorised drivers. The caller was advised of the inherent difficulties in these situations and that the use of devices such as wheel clamps was not a legislated option in the ACT. Several options were discussed with the caller such as designated parking bays, boom gates etc.

Directorate: ETD

Issue: The caller was a long-term Canberra resident but moved to Bywong in NSW 6 years ago. She has a business in civic and her children go to primary school in the ACT, but it will be really challenging to get them in to a Canberra high school, and the schools won’t talk to you.

Response: The Chief Minister noted there was an obligation for public education schools to accept local children from the area but that the majority of public schools did have some capacity beyond that. The Chief Minister said that if the caller’s first choice school was full, there would be another equally good quality school that would have places.

OUTCOME: ACT residents have priority for enrolment and placement in ACT public schools. Most ACT schools have a priority enrolment area (PEA) and schools give priority to the placement of children living in its PEA. The Directorate determines and regularly reviews PEAs. PEAs may be one suburb, part of a suburb, or a group of suburbs. In some instances certain suburbs may be included within the PEA of two or more public schools. A school may accept students from outside its PEA subject to the school’s limit and capacity. More information is available on the Education and Training Directorate’s website:http://www.det.act.gov.au/school_education/enrolling_in_an_act_public_school/priority_placement_areas or by contacting (02) 6207 5111.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller praised the Canberra Connect staff for doing a wonderful job. The caller noted that street signage for the 40km/h zones in Town Centres was not obvious in such visually cluttered environments and the speed limit should be painted on the road. The caller also felt the road signage around Gungahlin was too confusing and the places indicated on the signs were not the obvious ones.

Response: The Chief Minister said that the idea of painting the speed limit on the roads was an interesting one and he would raise it with Roads ACT. The Chief Minister said that we don’t want unhelpful signs and that he would se what could be done.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised that 40km/h speed pavement markings have been installed at the London Circuit and Marcus Clark Street entry points to the 40 km/h area precinct. Roads ACT will continue to monitor/review the signage in Gungahlin. 

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: The caller felt that Ginninderra Falls needs to be reopened so young people can know the beauty of the area and that the whole region around there needs better protection and conservation and should be turned into a national park. The caller was concerned about some housing development in the area.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that the immediate area was in NSW and that the falls themselves were on a privately held lease. The Chief Minister noted he could work to raise the issue but could not declare a national park in NSW but that he was very conscious of the value of the area on the ACT side of the border. The Chief Minister noted that a company was in a joint venture with the ACT government in this zone.

OUTCOME: The caller was contacted to discuss a cross-border conservation area located along Ginninderra Creek. It is expected that the ACT and NSW conservation areas will allow for an appropriate level of public access to Ginninderra Falls while protecting the environmental requirements. The conservation management plans intend to involve a cross-border management arrangement, to ensure a consistent approach is utilised. Opportunities for further comment will be available through the planning processes of both the Government (ACT, NSW, and Federal Governments) and the Riverview Group.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: The caller asked why non-resident landowners couldn’t vote in ACT elections like in other municipal elections?

Response: The Chief Minister noted that the ACT is a Territory government, not a municipal government, although the ACT Government does also have municipal functions, and that the situation was therefore like every other State or Territory which only allow residents to vote. The Chief Minister said this would not be changing.

Directorate: ETD

Issue: The caller is a bus driver for special needs transport and was very upset to see the plight of parents with sometimes more than one child with special needs and that the criteria for the bus service is restricted to those children who require access to a special needs unit at school. The caller said he used these buses as a child because he suffered a stroke and he sees similar students now falling through the cracks with physical or visual disabilities but who don’t fit the eligibility criteria.

Response: The Chief Minister said the NDIS now provides individual support packages and transport can be part of that. The ACT government does provide the special needs transport bus service, but as with all programs there are eligibility criteria and the government is not able to provide a door to door service for everyone, and there is a responsibility for private transport providers to step up and provide a service too. The Chief Minister noted it was hard to comment on individual circumstances and that if there are particular issues these can be raised with the government and looked at.

OUTCOME: An official contacted the caller to discuss the eligibility criteria for Special Needs Transport. The use of defined criteria means there will be children who fall outside this criteria and are therefore not able to access the service. If an affected family chooses, they can discuss transport to and from school with their NDIS planner and, if it is considered reasonable and necessary under the NDIS, transport to and from school can be included in an NDIS plan.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller asked if the Kambah toilets at the woolshed could be reopened near the community gardens as they were closed and you had to go 400m to the adventure playground. The caller noted the area was widely used throughout the year and there were problems with public urination since the toilets closed.

Response: The Chief Minister said that the toilets which were closed were not in acceptable condition and could not be reopened and that the toilets 400m away were the public toilets for the area.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The caller noted there was a flashing road works sign saying 40km/h outside the Charnwood school but there were no road works in sight. The caller asked if this was a strategy to reduce speeds near the school? And if so, that this would only bring roadworks signs into disrepute and it should be removed.

Response: The Chief Minister said that he doubted very much that would be the case but would check.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised that the sign was shut down on

26 June 2015; the caller had noticed this and was pleased that TAMS has taken action.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: The caller was pleased at the possibility of an alternative site for the child care centre instead of the Telopea Park tennis courts, but that the whole land development proposal for the school needed to be slowed down until there was a clear outcome for the childcare centre.

Response: The Chief Minister said that this process could not be slowed down because if the decision goes the other way the school facilities need to be ready to be built over the summer school holiday break. The Chief Minister said here was no easy solution and that he was certain there would be another different group of people who would be unhappy about the proposed new child care centre site.

OUTCOME:The ACT Government is undertaking planning investigations on a site behind the Griffith Shops on Throsby Lane for the relocation of MOCCA. The site is made up of blocks 33, 39 and part of block 43 section 78, Griffith. As the blocks are odd-shaped and comprised of multiple zonings, a Territory Plan variation will be required. A master planning exercise will be undertaken, including community consultation on the development outcomes, to inform the Territory Plan Variation. In concert with this, MOCCA can begin designs for a new facility to be developed on the site.  It is anticipated that the planning, design and construction process be completed to enable MOCCA to move to their new building in 2018 – 2019.

Callers Not Answered On Air but Followed Up

Directorate: CMTEDD – Asbestos Response Taskforce

Issue: The caller lives between two Mr Fluffy houses and was concerned about the possible impact on the market value of his home once the list of affected addresses is released

OUTCOME:Anyone with concerns about the potential impact on market value of their home due its proximity to a Mr Fluffy property should contact their Real Estate Agent or the Real Estate Institute of Australia for that information/advice.

SMS/TEXT

Directorate: Treasury

Issue: We have seemingly become paralysed by Fluffy houses and the light rail. Surely there is more to ACT infrastructure than these 2 big infrastructure projects. We want our CM to be more than Fluffer-in­ Chief!

OUTCOME: In 2015-16 the Territory Government will spend $5.1 billion in the delivery of services to the people of Canberra and a further $825 million for infrastructure. The 2015-16 Budget provides for a record infrastructure investment of $2.8 billion over the four years to 2018‑19. Infrastructure investment includes significant projects in areas including road and urban infrastructure, land development, education, health and community facilities.  Some of the major infrastructure projects in various stages of design and construction include:

  • Capital Metro
  • ACT Law Courts Facility
  • Majura Parkway
  • University of Canberra Public Hospital.

A key feature of the 2015-16 Budget is the Urban Renewal Program with funding of $167 million in 2015-16 and $234 million over four years. The URP provides for a suite of projects to revitalise public infrastructure, improve access to public transport and essential services, and upgrade public amenities to encourage more active living.

The Government is making investment in all critical areas of urban development, education and training, health, and justice and community safety, with a particular focus on urban renewal. Significant new projects include:

  • Better Public Housing. Public housing properties will be redeveloped to replace Allawah Court, Karuah, Red Hill Housing Precinct and Owen Flats ($133 million over four years);
  • Better Roads for Gungahlin – Gundaroo Drive duplication – Stage 1 ($31 million); Horse Park Drive duplication ($17 million); and Enhanced Town Centre road network ($14 million);
  • Better Roads for Tuggeranong – Ashley Drive duplication – Stage 2 ($25 million); and
  • Schools for the Future – North Gungahlin and Molonglo ($28 million); and Modernising Belconnen High ($18 million).

The Urban Renewal Program also includes $1.5 million across 2015-16 and 2-16-17 for public realm improvements in Civic and Braddon. The Government will upgrade the lighting in Haig Park and finalise upgrades for lighting and footpath revitalisation in Mort and Lonsdale Streets in Braddon.

Directorate: CSD

Issue: Re public housing proposed for Chisholm and Monash­ can CM commit to a mix of private and public tenants in those developments to avoid simply relocating problems at (eg) ABC flats, Burnie court etc due to concentration of public tenants.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that these were very small developments so may not be able to have that mix within them, but that the government’s approach of ‘salt and peppering’ public housing around suburbs would continue.

Directorate: Economic Development

Issue: I am a Telopea parent. Thank you for the good decision not to take Telopea land. Please consult properly in future PRIOR to causing so much unnecessary grief.

OUTCOME: The ACT Government is undertaking planning investigations on a site behind the Griffith Shops on Throsby Lane for the relocation of MOCCA. The site is made up of blocks 33, 39 and part of block 43 section 78, Griffith. As the blocks are odd shaped and comprised of multiple zonings, a Territory Plan variation will be required. A master planning exercise will be undertaken, including community consultation on the development outcomes, to inform the Territory Plan Variation. In concert with this, MOCCA can begin designs for a new facility to be developed on the site.  It is anticipated that the planning, design and construction process be completed to enable MOCCA to move to their new building in 2018 - 2019

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: One word weeds. The weed control in the ACT is a disgrace and then the funding gets slashed and you just laugh it off.

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and discussed the issue. The caller was advised that an extra budget allocation has been made for the 2015-16 year for mowing and weeds which will allow earlier controls to be implemented to reduce the weed growth throughout the City.

Directorate: CSD

Issue: I totally agree the fencing section is a disgrace.

OUTCOME: CSD contacted the caller and the caller has agreed to speak with a senior officer from Housing ACT to arrange for appropriate fencing work to be carried out.

Directorate: CMA

Issue: To the Chief Minister could you indicate if the car park on London circuit near the law courts will be closed for 4 years while the light rail is being constructed - as mentioned in the Canberra times this week. It will cause immense problems. Thanks

OUTCOME: An officer from the Capital Metro Agency contacted the caller and advised that the car park in question will close and be utilised as a construction compound. The car park will likely close from 2017, however timing is dependent on the construction program put forward by the preferred consortium.  The Capital Metro Agency is working with the Environment and Planning Directorate on alternative parking arrangements during this time.  As part of Capital Metro’s ongoing commitment to consultation, conversations will continue with businesses, community organisations and residents.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: The top end of Namatjira Drive is in appalling condition, such that it is necessary to weave through the areas of broken road surface. Is it on TAMS' work schedule, and if so, when?

OUTCOME: An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and discussed the issue. The specific section of the road has been confirmed with the caller and advised that the particular section is included in 2015-16 resurfacing program and the work will be undertaken in between October 2015 and March 2016.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: On road signage, there are three lanes of traffic near the airport. Two have signs over the road for arrivals and departures, the third lane goes to Queanbeyan but there is no sign over the road. Can be confusing for those not familiar with the road.

OUTCOME: The signage will be reviewed additional signage or pavement marking will be provided as is required for Queanbeyan.

Directorate: ACT Policing

Issue: Can something be done to stop the gross road light running on Yamba Drive, particularly at the Dorsch St, Isaacs, and the Mawson Drive intersections. Thank you

OUTCOME: Information was provided to ACT Policing Traffic Operations for assessment and consideration as a potential site for future traffic enforcement activities focusing on red and orange light running.

Directorate: 1) Access Canberra re parking inspectors 2)EPD re parking station

Issue: Re Barton parking ... Parking in Kingston around Printers Way (2 hours) is abused and parking inspectors are rarely enforced. Let's have a parking station in the vacant space at the railway station where there is plenty of open unused space!

OUTCOME: Access Canberra Parking Operations contacted the caller and discussed parking enforcement issues within the Kingston Foreshore precinct. New parking signage has been erected by TAMS and Parking Inspectors are patrolling the area 2-3 times a week as part of their routine patrols.

Kingston is not being currently being considered as a site for a future Government-operated parking station. Current activities in the Kingston area suggest that the Railway Station would not be a suitable site for a parking station, as it is removed from Kingston’s major activity nodes (such as the Canberra Glassworks, Kingston Foreshore, and Green Square). Land at the railway station is also currently reserved for a range of purposes - including passenger and freight rail transport (as well as supporting parking, shunting and loading areas), and for the Canberra Railway Museum.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: Re parking enforcement -- you can wheel clamp in Sydney but not ACT. This is losing a major way to control errant parking in a city that is car centric.

OUTCOME: Access Canberra Parking Operations contacted the caller and discussed all day parking in apartment complex parking bays by unauthorised drivers. The caller was advised of the inherent difficulties in these situations and that the use of devices such as wheel clamps was not a legislated option in the ACT. Several options were discussed with the caller such as designated parking bays, boom gates etc.

Directorate: Treasury

Issue: Can you offer any reassurance about the moves by the Federal Government to change Boards Industry Super?

OUTCOME: The ACT Treasurer is not able to provide any reassurance in relation to the moves by the Federal Government to change Industry Super Boards as this is a Federal Government matter.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: On many occasions we have asked for the lane from Pickles St. to Belconnen Way to be cleaned of the self sown trees. No action to date.

OUTCOME:The caller was informed that the tree maintenance crew will be doing some work to remove the ‘self sown’ trees in the Belconnen Way area and that works have been scheduled for the area over the coming few weeks.

Directorate: ETD

Issue: Doesn't Rachael's primary school feed into a high school although it may not be the high school of choice.

OUTCOME: ACT public primary schools do not feed directly into public high schools. Enrolments are based on priority enrolment area (PEA) and those schools give priority to the placement of children living in its PEA. More information is available on the Education and Training Directorate’s website:http://www.det.act.gov.au/school_education/enrolling_in_an_act_public_school/priority_placement_areas or by contacting (02) 6207 5111.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Could there be signs erected throughout the ACT on the number to call for our wildlife. (For quick help.) instead of seeing kangaroos etc in pain for a long time ... Please.

Response: The Chief Minister noted that he had seen this in some other places, and that without wanting to see a proliferation of signs, perhaps there was some merit in that proposal for certain locations.

OUTCOME: There are currently 18 large road signs throughout the ACT that provide advice on how to report injured wildlife.  Additional signage will be considered if funding becomes available and the need is identified.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Would it be possible to have a footpath on the Lyons side of Heyson St? Bus goes only hourly so is not unusual for people to walk either on the narrow road or rough gravel at the side.

OUTCOME:On30 June 2015 an officer from TAMS contacted the caller. The caller requested a community path on Heysen Street from Hilder Street, Weston to just beyond the intersection with Devonport Street, Lyons.  The caller would also like seating to rest along the route.  The officer informed the caller that a request for a community path along Heysen Street has been requested by community members and assessed by Roads ACT.  It is currently ranked 156 of 286 requests.

Directorate: CMTEDD – Policy and Cabinet

Issue: High Speed Rail for Australia will be a nation building infrastructure project that will change the way 70% of Australians work, live and travel. What advice can the chief minister provide on getting our politicians and political parties to think and [text cut off]

OUTCOME: The ACT Government has long supported and advocated for the development of High Speed Rail in Australia and the potential economic benefit this transformational piece of infrastructure would provide to Canberra and the Canberra Region. The ACT Government welcomed the Australian Government’s 2012 High Speed Rail Studies supporting the development of spur line and a station located in Civic. A station location in Civic would provide greater economic benefit to the city, and align with the ACT Government current policy objectives. The ACT Government notes the August 2013 report of the Advisory Committee on high speed rail identified inertia as one of the biggest risks and potential costs to realising high speed rail.  In addition, as our cities and other centres expand, it is envisaged that the protection of routes will be more difficult, further impacting on the project’s cost. EPD is leading the ACT Government’s current engagement with the Australia Government on corridor preservation.  However High Speed Rail is not a priority for the current Australian Government.

Like all Australian jurisdictions, the ACT Government is experiencing budgetary constraints.  The ACT Government’s current infrastructure priorities are:

  • Capital Metro
  • Response to Mr Fluffy
  • Education and Health.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Marcus Clark street at the Barry drive end travelling south definitely needs a 40km sign painted on the road as very few drivers seem to notice the poor signage to do so.

OUTCOME:An officer from TAMS contacted the caller and advised that 40km/h speed pavement markings have been installed at the London Circuit and Marcus Clark Street entry points to the 40 km/h area precinct.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Town centre speed signs are an issue agree with the lady caller. NSW have school zone signs that light up, much easier to see.

OUTCOME:Roads ACT will continue to monitor/review the speed limit signage in town centres to ensure they are visible and adequate.   The conditions which led to the introduction of flashing lights around schools in NSW are not present within the ACT road environment, and ACT schools have not experienced anywhere near the level of school-related pedestrian and cyclist crashes as have other states such as NSW.

The ACT has an excellent road safety record for its school environments due to its city planning code (ACT schools are not sited on major and arterial roads) and its traffic management facilities installed adjacent to schools. The ACT Government also continually monitors safety performance around schools, in association with school communities, and implements physical traffic management measures where necessary when required.

Directorate: TAMS

Issue: Shackleton Circ, Mawson is a popular walking route. Why are the street lights on the opposite side of the street to the footpath? Non navigable nature strips make walking with street lights very difficult and force you onto the road, not good at dawn/dusk

OUTCOME: Roads ACT undertook a night time inspection of the area on 2 July 2015. The lights do require upgrading but have not been identified currently in any Capital Works Programs.  Additionally, to light the path on the other side of the road, the street light columns will need to be increased in height from 3.5m to 6.5m and have a new LED light fitting installed.  There are approximately 40 street light columns. To undertake this upgrade will cost approximately $80,000 and will be considered for inclusion in a future works program.