Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 10 February 2017

Calls received on air

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: The caller queried why is there not a full list of Government phone numbers in the directory, instead of only Access Canberra’s number. Sometimes when Access Canberra are called they then provide a direct phone number. The caller feels it would be easier to look up that contact directly. The caller also questioned whether it was wise to have simultaneous works on Cotter Road and Hindmarsh Drive.  

Response: The Chief Minister thanked the caller for her question and advised he would look into her listing query. He also noted that many people would like roadworks completed sooner rather than later to ensure they do not face delays for a longer period that necessary.

OUTCOME: Access Canberra contacted the caller, who appreciated the call. She expressed her frustration at not being able to find contact numbers for relevant ACT Government areas in the White Pages like she has in the past. June is waiting on information regarding a rental bond enquiry – the Access Canberra representative offered a follow up with the relevant area but June declined at this point. Access Canberra representative provided their contact number for any further queries if required.

Directorate: EPSDD

Issue: The caller raised the Development Application for Curtin Shops and noted the development is under threat from developer himself. The future of this development will affect other jobs in the area, as well as the community. The caller believes this is bringing the integrity of the Development Application process into question, and queried what the Government could step in?

Response: The Chief Minister advised this dispute is a private matter and the Government is unable to step in.

Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: The caller queried the process around rectification orders, and their enforcement. The caller noted there was an ongoing issue which has not yet been resolved in 4 years. Are there other options?

Response: The Chief Minister advised there is an enforcement and compliance area within ACTPLA who would look after these matters. There are possible further courses of action which may be available, but that would depend on the specifics of the matter.

OUTCOME: It is always Access Canberra’s preferred approach to work with parties to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome when points of disagreement arise. The protracted nature of this case reflects its complexities.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: The caller believes the bike track from Richardson to Tuggeranong is in need of repairs.

Response: The Chief Minister said he will have a Government representative contact the caller.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller on Monday 20 February 2017. Unfortunately, the number provided was incorrect. An officer from Roads ACT has inspected the various sections along the bike track from Richardson to Tuggeranong, and identified sections in need of repair. Repair work to remove the trip hazards is expected to be complete within 7-10 working days.

Directorate: Treasury

Issue: The caller queried whether the ICON water for building developments was a disincentive to investment and development, particularly when development is needed in, for example, Woden.

Response: The Chief Minister said he will have a Government representative contact the caller.

OUTCOME: The Chief Minister explained that the levy would share the cost of development across all developments rather than the one that tips demand over the current capacity. This is a much more fair way of spreading the financial burden of infrastructure. The Chief Minister does not believe this would present a disincentive to development Woden, particularly in light of the great many reasons to develop and invest in Woden including light rail, recent private sector investment in the town centre, and an influx of jobs due to relocation of ACT public servants.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: The caller noted the consistent morning congestion on Parkes way near the roundabout. The congestion didn’t seem to be dependent on any particular incident, but appears to be the fault of the roundabout.

Response: The Chief Minister noted the large number of people who commute to the city centre each day around this time, and that traffic slowing would inevitably happen somewhere. Cars cannot park at 80km, the Chief Minister advised, and people would necessarily need to slow down as they approach the city to find parking spots.

Directorate: CSD

Issue: The caller advised her daughter has recently transferred from a public to a private school but was advised she would no longer receive funding.

Response: While the Chief Minster was not across the specifics of this case, he advised that generally the NDIS has moved funding away from big block funded programs and towards individual cases such as the caller’s daughter). A government representative will follow up with the caller.

OUTCOME: CSD contacted the caller to explain how the NDIS and mainstream education support children in both public and private schools. The caller provided very positive feedback of how her daughter was being supported within a private school. The school is very respectful and inclusive of her daughters disability.

Directorate: JACS/ESA

Issue: The caller queried whether it is OK to mow the lawn on a total fire ban day.

Response: The Chief Minister advised it is, but that all ACT Government mowing would not happen on a total fire ban day. A common sense approach is advised, and mowing should only happen if its safe. It the mowing can wait till Sunday or Monday, delaying it until then would be recommended.

Directorate: EPSDD

Issue: The caller noted widespread concerns from shop owners following developer threats to board up shops, and queried what the Chief Minister is doing to preserve the integrity of the DA process.

Response: The Chief Minister advised the DA process rightly exists independent of political influence and there was therefore little he could do.

Directorate: Health

Issue: The caller thanked the Chief Minister for the work to improve organ donation rates as one of her family members will need a new organ in the next few years.

Response: The Chief Minister thanked the caller for taking the time to call in.

Directorate: CMTEDD (EDD)

Issue: The caller asked when CBRFree wifi would be expanded in Tuggeranong, and suggested the Erindale group centre might be a good place to expand the rollout.

Response: The Chief Minister advised that Erindale will be considered in the next phase of the rollout, but current efforts are focused on town and group centres.

Directorate: EPSDD

Issue: The caller noted past Government mentions of battery storage in the ACT, and questioned whether now was a good time.

Response: The Chief Minister advised the Next Generation Energy Storage Pilot Program is going ahead, and a number of grants have been awarded to installers to subsidise battery storage at around 800 Canberra Homes. While the current program is aimed at a household level, the Government is also looking at a community level response. The ACT is well positioned given its reputation and commitment to renewable energy, as well as the physical nature of the city. There is an exciting future for Canberra in terms of both research and development, and also in practical terms as a trial site.

Directorate: EPSDD & ACT Policing

Issue: The caller noted that large surface parking lots have been sold in Civic, and many have not yet been developed including the one owned by QIC. The caller queried whether the Chief Minister is thinking about timeframes for this development to commence. The caller was also concerned around the lack of enforcement of 40km/hr zones near schools.

Response: The Chief Minister first addressed the QIC site, noting they had purchased several sites, and were progressing development in a staged approach. The Chief Minister also advised that market conditions have a necessary impact on developments. The Government has a clear agenda promoting residential housing development near the city centre, while also meeting demand for parking and commercial activity. In relation to the enforcement of 40km/hr zones, the Chief Minister suggested the caller raise the issue with ACT Policing who would likely send patrols to areas of concern.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: The caller queried when the Monaro Highway will be resurfaced between Isabella Drive and Johnson Drive.

Response: The Chief Minister thanked the caller for his question and committed a Government representative would be in contact.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and advised him that the road condition of Monaro Highway between Isabella Drive and Johnson Drive was mechanically surveyed late last year. Data is currently being analysed and the resurfacing program for 2017-18 will be prepared based on the recommended priorities.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Dead animal in longstaff st laneway in lyneham. Been there for weeks. Workers mowed AROUND it but didn't remove it or it seems let another agency know. Obviously smells horrendous & is a health issue.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and was advised that arrangements are being made for the remains of the animal to be removed and disposed of appropriately.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: What happened to cat containment measures in Jacka? Wasn't it meant to be January 1st? No signage eg... cats in houses on street signs or signage on entering suburb. Obviously there is unaware residents plenty of kitty's roaming about.

Response: The Chief Minister advised a Government representative would contact the caller.

OUTCOME: TCCS rang the caller and explained that there is work currently being undertaken by EPSDD and TCCS to identify a long term cat management strategy for cat containment areas and the greater ACT. Caller expressed her appreciation and empathised with the difficulties there are in managing cats. TCCS will install Cat Containment Signage on the main entrance/exits to Jacka.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Chief Minister, why are roads increasingly being resurfaced with stones rather than hot mix? The stones make a rough and noisy surface to drive on, whereas the hot mix is smoother and quieter.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller the difference between the asphalt and reseal treatments was discussed and the fact that asphalt costs four times that of a reseal.

Directorate: EPSDD

Issue: Time people started looking at the impact of SA totally privatised which is when prices rose. ACT 100% govt owned & not only cheapest in Australia but already around 60%? renewable aiming for 100% renewable by 2020. No probs here, although maybe today as [text cut off]

Response: CM advised we are not 100% owned, it’s a joint venture. The poles and wires are 50% owned by the ACT Government and 50% owned privately. The private ownership is split between China State Grid and Singapore Power and our retail side is in a 50% joint venture between by ACTEW and AGL.

Directorate: CMTEDD

Issue: What are the slight differences between the Minister for housing & suburban development and the Minister for planning & urban renewal and how do the town centre s and existing suburbs fit into those rolls.

Response: Housing and Suburban Development involves the Public Housing portfolio Affordable Housing Policy and new green field estates. Planning and Renewable area is around the existing urban footprint of Canberra.

Directorate: Health

Issue: Dear Chief Minister. Why are all the beds at Canberra hospital emergency department not open yet. Some days ambulance patients still offloaded into corridors.

OUTCOME: The incorrect number was provided. ACT Health are yet to formally open all beds in the Emergency Department (ED).  ACT Health have been opening various new sections of the ED as the build has been completed and as we have recruited staff.There has been a phased approach to opening the beds and we expect to open the final group of beds in July 2017.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Chief Minister please provide heat shelters for people and pets without aircon

Response: The Chief Minister noted there are a range of government facilities (including libraries) and a range of private operated, but publicly accessible, facilities. The Chief Minister suggested all people take good care of their pets during high temperature periods.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Are [there] plans to improve the cycle paths. I regularly ride from Calwell to Tuggeranong and the paths have been clearly marked out for repair for several years, however, no improvements to date. The tree roo [text cut off]

Response: The Chief Minister advised there are plans to repair the ACT’s cycle paths.

Directorate: CMTEDD

Issue: Chief Minister. After January storm many trees fell on naturestrips and parkland. What is the process to clear the mess? When will start?

Response: The Chief Minister advised the process has started. That particular weather event was extreme and teams are working on it as quickly as possible.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue:  Before the last election I rang and asked about the faulty lights on the roundabout on Ginninderra and Florey Drives. At the time two of 4 lights were out. Now all 4 lights are not working. Why does it take more than 5 months to fix major street light

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and advised that the street light outage was due to a telecommunication tower that birds had chewed through internal cables.  TCCS advised that we are looking to redesign the lighting at the roundabout.