Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 11 August 2017


Calls received on air

Directorate: TCCS/EPSDD

Issue: What is happening on the hillside between Amaroo and Moncrieff opposite the Wanganeen and Mirrabye roundabout?

Outcome: An officer form the Suburban Land Agency contacted Barbara and advised her that the Agency is building maintenance tracks for emergency vehicles which will also function as walking and cycling tracks for residents. The officer also advised that the Agency is building a bridge across Ginninderra Creek to access the schools and playing fields and that it is expected to be completed around January 2018. She was very happy with the call.


Directorate: TCCS - Sportsgrounds

Issue: What are the structures built on Campbell oval 5 yrs ago - why are they there, who uses them and who paid for them?

Outcome: Campbell Neighbourhood Oval is a Transport Canberra and City Services asset. This facility has a number of throwing cages that are primarily utilised by the ACT Veteran’s Athletics Club, who use these cages for throwing activities (i.e. discus, shot put).  The improvements were funded by Active Canberra (ACT Government) at the time.  The caller stated that these facilities are not being used and as a result, TCCS will monitor the site and discuss usage patterns with the ACT Veteran’s Athletics club.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Why can’t we have a speed sign in Lanshill ave in Dunlop? Need one after coming off 80kmph on Ginninderra drive

Outcome: Lance Hill Avenue is a minor collector road and the default speed of 50 km/h limit applies. The 50 km/h speed limit applies to all roads in the ACT unless otherwise signposted and in that context, 50km/h signs are generally not required.

The placement of 50 km/h signs is reserved for instances where it is not clear to motorists that they are in an urban, minor road environment. Lance Hill Avenue has all the features of a minor collector street with a number of residential driveways, footpaths. Travel speed survey data on Lance Hill Avenue shows that motorists are travelling within the speed limit. Given this, TCCS has no plans to make changes to the current signage arrangements on this road at this time.


Directorate: Health

Issue: What checks and measures are taken re food health when containers are left on benches?

Outcome: The Food Standards Code requires a food business to not display any ready-to-eat food for sale on any counter or bar that is not intended for self-service unless it is enclosed, contained or wrapped so that the food is protected from likely contamination. Potentially hazardous food must also be displayed under temperature control. A business may demonstrate they can safely display potentially hazardous food at other temperatures, for example by using time as a control. If a food business cannot meet these requirements, necessary enforcement action shall be taken.


Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: What can be done about Tiger tanks business on Monaro Hwy and Johnson Drive - turning into junkyard?

Outcome: Access Canberra contacted the caller and advised there is an on-going investigation into this matter. The differences in residential and rural leaseholds, including the criteria for unclean leaseholds which may not apply, was explained to the caller. Caller was advised that the investigation will look at relevant legislative powers that may be able to address the situation; and a joint inspection will be undertaken of the site with Building and Planning, WorkSafe and potentially the EPA. The caller was understanding of the issues (including the requirement for compliance action to be informed by legislation) and appreciative that the issue was being investigated by Access Canberra.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Metal posts in disabled parking areas

Outcome: An officer from TCCS spoke with the resident who acts on behalf of the People with Disability ACT organisation, which is a peak consumer voice for people with disabilities in the ACT.  The officer explained that where there is demand, additional disabled spaces are investigated and typically provided. The officer also explained that the design of disability parking spaces in the ACT complies with the Australian Standards, which were designed in consultation with disability groups. However, TCCS will contact the Australian Standards Committee responsible for the disability parking standard and seek that they review this design standard.


Directorate: EPSDD

Issue: Retirees downsizing - options for townhouses are often 2 storey and unsuitable.

Outcome: An officer from the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate contacted the caller who wanted to convey two points, being:

The officer listened to his feedback and acknowledged that appropriate housing choices for the elderly is a challenge. The caller was advised that the ACT Government may be considering a review of its planning strategy, and that this could be an opportunity to consider the two issues he raised. The caller expressed interest in this process, and was assured that his details will be passed on so he can be informed when the review is publically released.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Entrances to carpark at Diddams close for the dogpark - need repair.

Outcome: A TCCS officer contacted the constituent and informed them that the site would be inspected by an officer from TCCS and appropriate action would be taken following the inspection.


Directorate: CMTEDD - Treasury

Issue: Husband passed away and his name was on the house deeds. The ACT Government removed the pensioner discount. When she phoned they said they needed a death certificate but then didn’t have a clear process of where to send it.

Outcome: ACT Revenue Office (ACTRO) contacted the caller to understand the issues surrounding her particular circumstances and apologised for the inconvenience this has caused her through such a terrible time. The caller ensured it will not happen again and ACTRO will continue working with her closely regarding her pensioner entitlements.


SMS/TEXT

Directorate: CSD

Issue: Why not let homeless people sleep in the empty govt buildings on these cold nights?

Response: Housing ACT advised that the ACT Government funds a range of services for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness (including $20 million per annum and over 300 accommodation places).

The ACT Government’s focus on ending homelessness is aligned to the national agenda which is to address the underlying causes of people’s homelessness. To achieve this, funded services use a case management approach that addresses an individual’s needs, including physical and mental health, drug and alcohol issues, domestic violence, legal and other socio-economic issues.

The numbers of rough sleepers in the ACT is low compared to other jurisdictions.  Housing ACT does however provide funding to services to actively reach out to anyone on the streets and provide them with immediate support (including food, transport vouchers, etc) as well as encouraging them to seek the range of crisis accommodation services available.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: I consider it an urgent priority to complete the transition of ACTIONS old buses. From the old orange buses to the new green buses. Or is it the blue buses. Why do we have 3 different coloured buses in our fleet?

Response: An officer from TCCS contacted the caller and discussed fleet replacement and livery. There are currently three sets of livery because Transport Canberra has moved to the blue livery for buses this year. Previous changes from orange and blue to green, white and orange occurred in 2004. Not all older buses have been replaced yet, and repainting older buses with the new colours is cost prohibitive.


Directorate: CSD

Issue: Can the Chief Minister explain why a city as affluent as Canberra has any homeless people at all? Can they sleep in the light rail carriages of a night?

Response: Housing ACT advised that the numbers of rough sleepers in the ACT is low compared to other jurisdictions. The ACT Government’s focus on ending homelessness is aligned to the national agenda which is to address the underlying causes of people’s homelessness. To achieve this, funded services use a case management approach that addresses an individual’s needs including physical and mental health, drug and alcohol issues, domestic violence, legal and other socio-economic issue.

Housing ACT does however provide funding to services to actively reach out to anyone on the streets and provide them with immediate support (including food, transport vouchers, etc) as well as encouraging them to seek the range of crisis accommodation services available.

Last month Minister Berry launched a discussion paper –  Towards a new Housing Strategy to help inform a conversation about housing and homelessness.  All Canberra’s are encouraged to engage with this conversation through the  www.yoursay.,act.gov website.


Directorate: EPSDD

Issue: Good morning Can you please explain how basic planning/ building regulations can be flouted. Large homes being built on the northern side of neighbours effectively blocking northerly light and sun. Townhouse developments facing due west without eaves and blocks of the ugliest apartments springing up without any community amenities aka what should be good urban development in proper inner city areas now appearing in suburban development. Principally in the suburbs of Wright and Coombes. These new suburban areas should have been a fabulous opportunity to show that our government not only recognised the principles of solar passive designs but ensured that they were adhered to by designers, architects and builders. It doesn't comply then it can't be built.

Response: An officer from the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate attempted to contact the called and left messages on her voicemail.   For developments on the northern side of neighbouring blocks, solar building envelope requirements would apply to minimise overshadowing impact. These requirements are in the form of Rules and Criteria in both the Single Dwelling Housing Development Code and the Multi Unit Housing Development Code. Where the developments are not rule-compliant, they still need to comply with the relevant criteria to ensure reasonable solar access is maintained to the neighbouring blocks to the south. Where a single dwelling development is exempt from requiring a Development Application, such proposals are approved on the basis that they comply with the relevant rule regarding solar envelope. Townhouse developments are required to comply with mandatory solar access requirements to the daytime living areas between 9:00am and 3:00pm on the winter solstice (worst day of the year in relation to solar access). Although townhouse developments may be facing due west, during the assessment of the proposal the proponent must demonstrate 3 hours of solar access is received between 9:00am and 3:00pm. It is not a requirement of the Territory Plan that all townhouse developments must be orientated towards north.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Could putting more benches around the Gordon Point Hut pond be looked into please? Particularly around the south east region near Darcy Close?

Outcome: Additional benches will be considered for Gordon Point Hut Pond as part of future works programs.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Speaking of infrastructure priorities where does the realignment of Kuringa Drive with Kingsford Smith Drive fit?

Outcome: The caller was advised that TCCS has undertaken a Feasibility Study for the Owen Dixon/ Kuringa Drive intersection, which has recommended that the intersection be signalised.


Directorate: Access Canberra

Issue: My mother tried to use cash to pay for service at Access Canberra. Was told they don’t take cash. She offered to get a bank cheque, call daughter to pay over the phone even offered to direct debit details. Was told by staff there is no safe place to keep cash in the office She would have to go to Tuggeranong, Belconnen or Dickson if she could only pay with cash. Very helpful advice to give 75yr old. Why don’t they take cash?

Outcome: The caller expressed disappointment around Woden shopfront not accepting cash or cheque. Caller was advised that, while public consultation occurred around the new cash policy, there was evidence that shopfronts experienced a declining cash rate. While the caller disagreed with the policy, they were grateful that their feedback was heard.