Chief Minister Talkback Summary - 13 April 2018

Calls received on air

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: The caller rang regarding the intersection at McCulloch St and the Cotter Road in Curtin. The caller said that the lane to turn right is only 5 spaces and this is not enough space. Once the right traffic signal turns red the cars are banked up past the right hand turning lane and cars going straight do not get the chance to cross the intersection due to this.

The caller also raised the issue of cars using the T2 lane and cutting in front of busses on Adelaide Avenue as there are very few broken lines for cars to legally cross into.

Response: The Chief Minister said that the issue could be resolved around the timing of the signalisation. The Chief Minister also said that we’ll get Roads ACT to look into the caller’s second issue.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller to inform them that TCCS has made adjustments to the operation of the traffic lights to work more efficiently.

Directorate: Housing ACT

Issue: The caller rang regarding her fence between her property and a government rental. The caller said fence has had approval for 2 years however there has been no headway with the fence going up.

The caller also expressed her concern about the quality of maintenance on her walk in path. The caller said cracks are now repaired by filling them in where as previously a badly cracked slab would be completely replaced.

Response: The Chief Minister said that 2 years does seem excessing and we’ll get her contact details and look into both of her issues.

OUTCOME: An officer from Housing ACT contacted the caller 1 May 2018 and made an undertaking to follow the matter through to completion. Housing ACT will monitor and provide the caller with an update on progress.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: The caller rang regarding two intersections, Lady Denman drive and McCulloch St and Coulter Dr and Cotter Rd. The caller questioned who’s idea it was to have two intersections 100m apart instead of having the roads align into one intersection.

Response: The Chief Minister said unfortunately it is too late and it is done now and We’ll dig into the history of that, but he imagines these road reserves were planned back allegedly in the Halcyon days of planning of this city.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller to discuss the offset intersections. The arrangement has always been two staggered T-junctions (200m rather than 100m apart). At the time of the last major upgrade five years ago, during which traffic lights were added to the Lady Denman Drive intersection, consideration was given to a major re-alignment to make one large crossroads. However the re-alignment was not pursued.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: The caller works Fluffies Kitten rescue and rang to express her concern amount the increasing amount of unowned cat colonies. The caller said the rescue is getting increasing phone calls about stray cats and kittens in residential and industrial areas throughout Canberra.

Without intervention the colonies are going to grow uncontrollably, and become a health hazard in and of themselves.

The caller had two specific questions: (1) whose responsibility is it to go and work something out with these cats and kittens that aren't owned? And (2) in terms of people who cannot afford commercial desexing in the ACT, is there any prospect that this government would organize a high volume, low cost desexing program throughout the ACT. The caller also said that domestic animal services and ACT rangers refuse to attend.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller to discuss her concerns regarding cats. TCCS i s responsible for domestic animal management including cats and often engages with the RSPCA to deliver cat-related animal welfare services. DAS rangers will attend to inspect the circumstances of this case and provide advice, noting that the issue of feral or semi-owned cats is a complex one as it can be a resource-intensive exercise and emotive matter to tackle. ‘It is estimated about a quarter of Canberra households own a cat. Irresponsible and unlawfully management of cats can present a serious threat to native wildlife, be a nuisance to neighbours and are more at risk of suffering injury or disease. Responsible pet ownership is an important issue and efforts are underway in conjunction with the RSPCA ACT to improve awareness of animal management including roaming cats. To help manage this issue, the ACT Government released the draft Animal Welfare and Management Strategy for the ACT. The Strategy has species-specific plans for the management of particular animals, including an ACT Cat Plan. While the Cat Plan is yet to be finalised, its key objectives will be to ensure cats are cared for by owners responsibly, a reduction in unwanted cats, reduction of the impacts of cats on native wildlife and to reduce risks to agriculture and human health.’ The ACT Government has committed to increasing the availability of subsidised cat desexing programs. Further information about this expanded program will be provided in the coming months.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Lack of street lighting in Flynn (many lights out) – it has been reported 6 weeks ago and still no action.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and advised them that they have located the cable faults in Flynn and have arranged for the bore work to be undertaken by a third party on Monday 30 April 2018.

Directorate: JACS

Issue: Poker Machines & children of addicts.

OUTCOME: A JACS officer contacted the caller to discuss the available ACT research on children and other family members of people experiencing harm from poker machines. The caller was informed that the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission conducts prevalence studies of gambling harm in the community through the ANU Centre for Gambling Research, and the impact of harmful gambling on family members’ forms part of this study. The caller suggested that there may be a need for further ACT specific research in this area, and the JACS officer agreed to pass this suggestion onto the Commission for consideration. The caller appreciated the discussion.


Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Morning Adam and Chief Minister- can we please get an update on the street lights in Coombs that have been out since Christmas? When will they be back on? It wasn't so bad during summer but now daylight savings is over it's extremely dark in several str (text cut off).

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and advised that they are currently waiting on mini pillar access to resolve the issue in the area.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Two separate sets of traffic lights are going to be needed on Irving / Launceston/ furzer sts Phillip if 24 story high rise + 3 are allowed to be built.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and advised that there is a plan to provide traffic lights at the intersections of Irving and Furzer Street with Launceston Street in a future Capital Works program.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Chief minister, look what ACT government did to our beautiful 25 year old well maintained claret ash. It's destroyed. Will never recover from this butchering. We live in Kambah and someone representing the ACT government came to check on it 3 months after I complained. He said he would be calling Kambah area to see what happened and was suitably disgusted with the tree cutting. He said we never cut to the trunk. He couldn't believe it.

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller and advised that TCCS had inspected the tree on 24 March 2018. However the cuts were not consistent with Urban Treescapes procedures or the Australian Standard AS 4373-2007 ‘Pruning of amenity trees’. There are no records to indicate that the works were undertaken by the ACT Government. TCCS identified only two trees on the street that have been pruned (# 29 and #39) both were similarly large Claret ash trees overhanging the road. As the cut limbs were located on the road side of the tree, it is possible that a passing vehicle had broken limbs off. All pruned limbs had been removed from the site.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Good morning, can we get an update on the rail? Is there an actual opening date please?

OUTCOME: Light Rail is on track to start operations in late 2018. The exact date will depend on a range of items, inclding weather and final certifications.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Good morning Chief Minister The streetlight outside my house has been out for OVER 4 MONTHS. It is the light for a bus stop, so it is dangerous & an absolute disgrace that it has not been working for so long. I have reported it numerous times online & by (text cut off).

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller to advise the outage has been caused by a cable fault. Repairs are expected to be carried out by Monday 30 April 2018.

Directorate: Health – Mental Health

Issue: Chief Minister, Why is there no relief staff available to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service when multiple staff members are absent sick or at training? Check the inability of CAMHS Southside to function yesterday.

OUTCOME: The caller was contacted and Health acknowledged and discussed the areas of concern i.e. staffing shortages due to unplanned leave and training and impact on workload for remaining staff. Discussed service plans when short staffed; i.e. senior managers being available during training, triaging and prioritising of appointments and workloads, and staff assistance from other areas.

Directorate: Health

Issue: Good morning ... re The Canberra Hospital, the emergency department in particular ... how does the system work in terms of who covers the cost of treatment for 'over the border' and broader NSW patients who present?

OUTCOME: ACT Health contacted the caller and discussed the cost of treatment in the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital for patients residing in NSW and opting to present and use their Medicare card at the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department, is covered by the Commonwealth Government and the State Government of NSW.

Directorate: JACS /ACT Policing

Issue: Has there been any thought to a higher police presence on the Sth bound route from GOE to Glenlock of a weekday morning. Similar to NSW highway patrol on the Hume at Campbell Town through to M5 tunnel. It may help to change driver behaviour and reduce the (text cut off).

OUTCOME: Caller provided general information regarding his concerns regarding the traffic volume, and how he is concerned that one incident can gridlock the GDE, and how he often observes the road rules being broken in various ways- tailgating, talking on the phone whilst driving etc . He suggested that a visible Police presence would deter these behaviours.

Directorate: EPSD

Issue: Dear chief minister, are you aware of the lack of any progress in developing the site of the ex Mckellar shops. There's been a great big hole with trees growing in it for the best part of 10 years. Given the great demand for housing and the development of (text cut off).

OUTCOME: The caller was contacted and informed about the DA application for 6 commercial tenancies and 22 residential units which was approved in 2016. Under the Act, the owners have 2 years to start the construction. The delay could be a commercial decision, as the owners may be using this time to arrange finance or find tenants for the commercial tenancies. After two years, the planning approval will lapse. For this development, the two year period will be up in mid-November 2018. EPSDD will send a courtesy reminder email to the applicant.

Directorate: TCCS

Issue: Scott asks the chief minister... What is being done about the massive African Love Grass infestations that the ACT has in its grass land areas such as median strips and verges? This poses a huge problem for our nature reserves and nearby national park a (text cut off).

OUTCOME: TCCS contacted the caller to advise that the current programs are being delivered through the Invasive Weeds Operational Plan (IWOP) and the Action Plan for the treatment of African Love Grass. These programs are focused on areas around native grass sites and Nature Reserves.