It’s been another busy and rewarding year serving as your local member for Ginninderra. In August I was delighted to have been appointed Special Secretary to the Chief Minister and have been tasked with renewing the push for Territory rights, as well as advocating for a fairer go for consumers. As the year draws to a close, I wanted to update you on what else has been happening in Belconnen and in the Legislative Assembly.
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?
A lot of work has been progressing in Belconnen:
- Demolition of the old Belconnen Health Centre on Benjamin Way is under way and should be completed by March 2020. Demonstration housing is slated for this site.
- The Supreme Court has ruled that the KFC development application for land next to the skate park on Emu Bank must be refused. The respondent can seek an appeal of this decision if they wish.
- The car park opposite the Belconnen Community Centre on Swanson Court is due to be released for development this financial year.
- Studies to identify remediation works at the old ambulance and fire station site off Lathlain Street are progressing. Once complete, a plan will be drawn up for remediation of the site.
- I’ve enjoyed seeing many of you at Rubbish Sizzles at John Knight Memorial Park recently, where I’ve been giving out free sausage sandwiches in exchange for a piece of rubbish. Thank you for your commitment to keeping Belconnen clear of litter. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for future events.
Other Assembly news
We’ve been working to make Canberra even better:
- In September the ACT Government passed a swathe of amendments to the Animal Welfare Act, including recognising animals as sentient beings – the first jurisdiction to do so.
- In October the ACT Government passed new laws to tackle littering and illegal dumping, including increased fines and a new aggravated littering offence for hazardous items such as cigarettes and syringes.
- In October the ACT became the first jurisdiction outside Europe to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy. I am proud to live in a city that continues to lead the way on action against climate change.
Belconnen Bikeway under way
Construction of the 4.7-kilometre Belco Bikeway is under way!
In October I joined Ministers Chris Steel and Gordon Ramsay at an official sod turning.
The Belco Bikeway was a key recommendation in the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan and will make commuting by bicycle in and around Belconnen much easier. The project also includes the planting of 200 trees and 4000 shrubs.
Construction is due for completion within the next year.
It’s about our rights
No Australian citizen should be disadvantaged based on where they live. Yet, here in the ACT we are. Unlike every Australian state, the ACT and the Northern Territory cannot make laws with respect to voluntary assisted dying.
In November I moved a motion calling on the federal parliament to remove sections in the ACT’s self-government act that deny the Territory the power to debate and pass laws on voluntary assisted dying. The motion also called on all ACT Legislative Assembly party leaders to write to their federal counterparts before the end of the year, requesting their commitment to restoring Territory rights. I am pleased to report that the motion passed unanimously.
This is just the first step in our renewed fight to have our democratic rights restored.
In September the Select Committee on Fuel Prices, which I chaired, handed down its final report. We put forward five recommendations to Government:
- The creation of a fuel prices oversight body or position to continually monitor and report on the ACT market.
- That the Government proactively approach independent operators and consider offering them incentives to attract them to the ACT market, encouraging greater competition.
- Introduce a mandatory real-time price monitoring scheme, accessed through a website and apps. We’ve recommended the Government seek to expand NSW FuelCheck into the ACT.
- Enhanced education so consumers can make informed decisions.
- A review of ACT service station taxes and charges, comparing like sites in other areas of the ACT as well as other regions, to determine whether changes need to be made.
The Government will provide its response soon.
If you're of reproductive age and diagnosed with cancer, the very treatments that can help you survive – things like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – can also render you infertile.
While there are numerous fertility preservation treatments available, there is an incredibly small window of time between a cancer diagnosis and the beginning of treatment for decisions to be made and action taken.
In September I moved a motion calling for an investigation into the feasibility of establishing an ACT fertility preservation service for Canberrans of a reproductive age diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease, so patients and their treating specialists can make quick, informed decisions about fertility preservation. The motion passed unanimously.
Better protections for consumers
If you buy a second-hand motor vehicle that’s more than 10 years old or has been driven more than 160,000 kilometres, there’s no statutory warranty available.
I want to see better protections for Canberra consumers who choose to buy an older second-hand vehicle.
In October I moved a motion asking the Government to review the legislation and consider if protections can be expanded so consumers have greater confidence and, if they end up with a lemon, better recourse.
I wish you, your family and your friends a safe and happy holiday period.
Until next time,