As the year draws to a close, I wanted to update you on what the ACT Legislative Assembly has been up to. From fighting to reclaim the ACT’s right to determine its own policy on assisted dying to improving footpaths in the Town Centre, I’ve been working hard to represent you on the issues that you care about.
If you ever need to get in touch with me, please call me on 6205 0100, email [email protected] or chat to me at one of my regular mobile offices.
What's been happening in Belconnen?
Over the past few months a lot of work has been progressing in Belconnen:
- Duplication of Aikman Drive has been completed, providing better access to the UC Hospital and our Town Centre, and a new shared path for cyclists and pedestrians
- Bus stops are now smoke-free
- Emu Bank foreshore has been retiled
- Design work on the Belco Bikeway has begun
- $3 million has been committed for Town Centre upgrades next year
- A new Black Rapid Bus service between Belconnen and Gungahlin has commenced
- Improvements to the Lake Ginninderra dog parks were completed
- Green bins will be coming to Belconnen in September 2018
- Boswell Crescent playground in Florey has been upgraded
- New toilets have been installed at Diddams Close at Lake Ginninderra
- Work has started on the Coppins Crossing Road duplication and upgrading the intersection at William Hovell Drive
Other Assembly news
ACT Labor has been delivering on our election promises to make Canberra even better:
- All students in years 7 to 11 in ACT public high schools and colleges will receive a Chromebook device in Term 1 2018
- A Container Deposit Scheme will be introduced in 2018
- Light Rail Stage One construction is progressing. Planning and consultation of Stage Two is well underway
- Greyhound racing will end in the ACT on 30 April 2018
- Drink spiking has been targeted by new criminal laws, and liquor licensing has been improved
Recycling coffee cups: yes/no
Did you know, here in the ACT, takeaway coffee cups and their plastic lids CAN be put in the recycling bin? There’s been a lot of confusion since the ABC’s War on Waste TV program said coffee cups can’t be recycled due to the plastic lining in the cups. I took the opportunity to ask officials during Annual Report hearings to shed some light on the issue. They confirmed that the ACT does have the technology to recycle coffee cups.
Very few coffee cups are not recyclable but a load of recycling can handle up to 10 per cent contamination (i.e. rubbish that shouldn’t be in there). So, you can recycle your coffee cup with the lid and it will be sorted out at the other end.
Of course, the best option is to take your own reusable cup!
Voluntary Assisted Dying in the ACT
Twenty years ago, the federal parliament passed laws preventing the ACT and NT from making our own laws on voluntary assisted dying. This still stands today, and it is outdated, paternalistic and needs to change.
Victoria recently passed legislation allowing for a voluntary assisted dying scheme with very strong safeguards. Almost every other state is actively considering, researching and debating the issue. Yet thanks to the current federal legislation, the ACT can’t yet determine its own policy on the issue.
In November, I successfully moved a motion calling on the ACT Government and all ACT Assembly members to raise with our federal counterparts - at every available opportunity - the need to restore our Territory rights.
The ACT Assembly has also established a Select Committee on End of Life Choices. Part of its terms of reference is to investigate whether and how a voluntary assisted dying scheme could work in the ACT. Importantly, it will give the community an opportunity to have their say by emailing [email protected].
Any discussion about voluntary assisted dying is not intended to undermine the importance of palliative care. The ACT Government and Canberra community provide significant support to palliative care, and in the 2015-16 budget we committed an additional $2.4 million over 4 years for palliative care services.
However, it’s widely acknowledged that in about 5 per cent of cases palliative care is not enough to ease suffering.
Sign my petition to support the ACT’s right to make our own decisions on assisted dying.
Green bins are coming to Belconnen!
Green waste collections will start in Belconnen in September 2018.
These bins are for garden waste, such as grass clippings, branches, flowers and weeds. The pilot in Kambah and Weston Creek has been very successful with more that 8,000 homes signing up. The rest of Canberra will be able to receive a green bin in mid-2019 – a year ahead of schedule.
You’ll need to opt-in and pay a $50 deposit to receive a bin. Stay tuned for when Belconnen registrations open next year.
One of the common things mentioned to me when I’m out and about is housing in the ACT. Issues raised include affordability, housing quality and the types of housing that are and aren’t available in our community. Our population is changing and there are different demands for housing types than there were 20 years ago. The ACT Government has recognised there’s a challenge in enabling development to meet demand for different choices of housing while also achieving high quality design and protecting the amenity in our suburbs. We want your views on how this might be achieved. Have your say at https://yoursay.act.gov.au/housingchoices.
I wish you, your family and your friends a safe and happy holiday period.
Until next time,