November 27, 2017
Welcome to the first edition of my newsletter, which will give you a snapshot of the things I’ve been up to over the past 12 months for the people of Ginninderra and in my roles as Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for Arts and Community Events, and Minister for Veterans and Seniors. That’s a lot of responsibility but serving you in this way is a great privilege and something I take very seriously.
There is so much great stuff going in the Belconnen area. As Arts Minister I am particularly proud of the work of the Belconnen Arts Centre and really pleased with the progress toward the Stage 2 expansion of the centre, which will add a new auditorium and cafe, and more dance, exhibition, workshop and storage space.
Upgrades to the Charnwood and Spence Shops have recently been completed, improving safety, accessibility and amenity. It’s also great to see that the faded line-markings in the Coniston St car park at Hawker Shops – something which many of you have raised with me – have recently been repainted. I’m grateful to TCCS for actioning this quickly after I raised it with Minister Fitzharris.
Spence has had quite a facelift, including a new shade sail above the playground, new seats, picnic tables, bike racks, garden beds and tree plantings. And at Charnwood, areas of paving lifted by tree roots have been repaired, new planted garden beds have been added, and other pedestrian areas improved.
A series of local playground upgrades will also be taking place over the New Year, focussing on minor structural work to increase safety for users. Playgrounds at Hardwick Crescent in Holt and Gouldsmith Street in Dunlop will receive soft fall replacements, in addition to park improvements in Belconnen and surrounding suburbs.
As Minister for Regulatory Services, I am proud of the work done by the hard-working staff of Access Canberra. They deliver around 700 services to Canberrans, including drivers licensing and vehicle registration, building and occupation licensing, work health and safety, liquor and other business licensing, fair trading and consumer protection, and parking operations.
Did you know you can carry out almost 300 different transactions online with Access Canberra? And if you do need to visit a shop front, these are all gradually being replaced with modern, friendly, cashless service centres where the staff can sit with you and help you resolve more complex matters.
You can now renew your driver licence online if you've had your licence photograph taken in the last five years. You will automatically be issued with a valid month-long temporary licence that you can download while a new licence is posted to you. https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au
Fix My Street
When I speak with people in Ginninderra, one of the common things we discuss is how we can make the area even better to live in.
Did you know you can report all sorts of issues in your suburb via this easy-to-use online facility? The mobile version is great too. By reporting things like pot holes, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, street lights not working, damaged recreation facilities and illegal parking, you are helping to be our eyes and ears on the ground which makes it easier and more efficient to respond.
You can even suggest speed camera locations. This kind of information from the community helps us deliver efficient and timely city services for you. Fix My Street now also has interactive maps so you can see where other jobs near you have been logged and you can check mowing schedules.
Seniors are a significant asset to our community: they are net contributors to the economy through their engagement with their communities and families.
The ACT Government is working to ensure that as our city continues to grow and develop, it is shaped as an age-friendly city in which the infrastructure, culture and supports enable seniors to lead rich, happy and healthy lives, so that we all benefit from the wisdom and experience of one of the largest, most educated generation of social innovators in the nation’s history.
Did you know there is an online Seniors Directory run by the ACT Government and Volunteering ACT? It can help you find services, community organisations and support groups in the Canberra region. Visit the website or call the info line on (02) 6248 7988. https://vc-act.mycommunitydirectory.com.au/
As Minister for Veterans, it is often my privilege to represent the ACT Government at events commemorating significant events in our military history. These are often moving, highly symbolic commemorations and it is an honour to meet veterans, legatees and families, and currently serving ADF personnel.
On Saturday November 11, I attended the Remembrance Day service at the Australian War Memorial with many high-level dignitaries and diplomats, in addition to the Australia’s Federation Guard and the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon parade. I was fortunate to lay a wreath at the service on behalf of the ACT Government. https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/remembrance-day
As Arts Minister, I have the opportunity to see a lot of the amazing work of the creative people and organisations of Canberra – and we have such a thriving arts scene here with theatre, music, literature, dance, painting, printmaking, photography, film, sculpture, textiles, glass and more.
The ACT Government owns 13 arts facilities including the much-loved Belconnen Arts Centre and the beautiful Strathnairn at the edge of Holt. The Government provides substantial operational funding to 25 arts organisations in the ACT as well as running the Canberra Theatre Centre, the Canberra Museum and Gallery and three historic homes. We support local artists with a variety of grants programs totalling close to $1 million; we fund a range of exciting details including Art Not Apart, Design Canberra, and the Writers Festival; and we deliver major events like Floriade and Enlighten.
Canberra Theatre has just launched its 2018 season which will bring lots of interesting and challenging performances to Canberra. But in the meantime, have you got your tickets to MAMMA MIA? Should be a wonderfully fun show. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
As your AG, I am strongly committed to making sure that all Canberrans have access to justice and feel safe while out enjoying all that our great city has to offer. I have helped to ensure that our Community Legal Centres and Legal Aid are properly funded and the ACT Government has, this year, introduced specific laws to protect people from drink spiking and intimate image abuse.
We have also made changes to liquor laws to encourage new, boutique venues to open up and to curb alcohol-related violence at late-night venues.
We have been working with ACT clubs to reduce harm caused by poker machines and to help clubs change their business models so they can keep contributing to their communities while becoming less reliant on pokie revenue.
There are lots of important areas of reform going on – I’ll update you more on this in my next newsletter.