NCCC  Public Forum Wednesday 18 July 2012

NCCC Public Forum Wednesday 18 July 2012

The North Canberra Community Council will host a public forum at 7:30 on Wednesday 18 July, at ACT Sports House, 100 Maitland Street, Hackett.

ACT Greens Candidates for Molonglo will attend to talk about issues affecting North Canberra residents and to answer questions from the floor from 7:30 to 8:15. A committee meeting to conduct business will follow from 8:15 to 9:30.

The NCCC committee has formed a set of questions for the candidates to read prior to the meeting…


Do you support the proposal to establish the Auditor General and Ombudsman positions as officers of Parliament?

This will make them more independent.

Do you support the establishment of a Governance Integrity Agency?

to establish formal coordination and links between designated integrity agencies?

Do you support the creation of an independent Residents’ Advocate legal position?

To assist residential planning legal conflicts sent to the ACT Appeal Tribunal?

How many ACT electorates should there be, and how many members per electorate?

Urban development

What developments should be exempt from Development Applications, and what developments should be subject to appeal by neighbours?
What improvements will you make to the process for notifying residents of proposed building developments?
What level of scrutiny will you exercise over private building code assessors?

The Marsden St case found that the approved development did not meet code requirements – that is, it should not have been approved. Because the private assessor did not do his job properly, it took tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of voluntary effort to see that the Code was properly applied. Private assessors have a commercial imperative to minimise the level of scrutiny that they exercise prior to approving developments.

What is your position on the Canberra airport curfew?
What will you do to ensure the survival and diversity of local shopping centres?
What will you do to persuade the Federal Government to over-ride the anti-competitive rules that prevent pharmacies from opening in suburban shopping centres such as Hackett?
 Will you implement Conservation Management Plans for North Canberra’s heritage precincts?

Community consultation and Community Councils

What will you do to encourage community involvement in government decisions?

on matters such as urban planning, transport and conservation?

What do you see as the roles of the Community Councils?

… and the Combined Community Councils, and what Community Councils do to better fulfil those roles?

What level of funding, administrative and other support will you provide for Community Councils and the Combined Community Councils?


What role do you see for travel conservation measures?

People will prefer to walk, ride or catch public transport to Town Centres if that becomes more convenient than driving.

Relative convenience can be influenced by measures such as converting CBD space from cheap car parking to more productive uses, or encouraging businesses to locate closer to their employees and customers rather than in major Town Centres?

 When will you produce a Walking Strategy?

In November 2010 the Chief Minister signed the International Charter for Walking, and committed to develop a Walking Strategy for Canberra.

Walking is arguably Canberra’s second most important mode of transport. A total of 8.3% of journeys to work involve significant durations of walking – 2.7% are by walking alone, and 5.6% are by a combination of walking and bus. This compares with totals of 7.2% by bus and 1.5% by bicycle.

How will you improve public transport?

… between Gungahlin and Civic, and in North Canberra generally?

What plans do you have for fixing traffic bottlenecks?

… such as the poorly designed Flemington Road-Federal Highway intersection, which already has two Civic-bound lanes and a transit lane, but in the morning peak operates at only 75% capacity and causes traffic to back up for three kilometres?

Will you maintain our footpaths, and build footpaths on the one in five Canberra streets that don’t have footpaths?

Only two in five Canberra families has direct access to a path. Another two have to cross a road to get to their nearest footpath. One in five lives on a street without a footpath.

Many footpaths and community paths need maintenance. Nature strips are often impassable, because the Government does not enforce its own rules against obstructing nature strips.

It will cost an estimated $100 million, in addition to regular maintenance costs. to put a footpath along one side of every Canberra street. The 2012 ACT Budget provides only $0.6 million in 2012-13 for footpath maintenance and construction, and nothing thereafter.

How will you provide safe routes to allow children and other people to walk or cycle to their local schools and shops?

To get to school, many Canberra children have to walk along roads into the face of oncoming traffic, because their streets have no footpaths and the ACT Government does not enforce its own rules that prohibit the obstruction of nature strips. Many children must cross 60 km/h roads at intersections where only 40% of drivers know the relevant give way rules.

At the turn of the century, most of Canberra’s cyclists were aged under 15. 73% of children cycled in a given fortnight. By 2009, (the most recent year for which complete and comparable data are available) this had dropped to 63% and children comprised only two in five cyclists.

The most important walking and cycling infrastructure for children is along their routes to school. These routes were generally excluded from consideration in the 2011 review of walking and cycling infrastructure.

Will you implement eight highly cost-effective North Canberra cycling projects?

The ACT budget allocates $5.5 million for “Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Stage 3.” We have identified eight North Canberra trunk walking and cycling projects (Table 1), each of which is more cost-effective than six of the seven projects recommended by the November 2011 Trunk Walking and Cycling Infrastructure report (Table 2). These eight projects are estimated to cost a total of only $0.3m.

Table 1: Eight cost-effective North Canberra trunk walking and cycling projects.

Project name Initial cost estimate($,000) Effective-ness score(range 0-1) Initial cost per unit effective-ness($,000/unit)
University avenue – off road path. 15 0.30 49
Menindee Drive off-road path. 35 0.53 66
Anzac Parade Lake to War Memorial off road path. 50 0.54 92
Edinburgh Ave – on road lanes. Parkes Way West. 30 0.27 109
Improvement of off-road path crossing at Miller Street between Macarthur and Quandong Streets. 25 0.17 145
Wattle Street- off-road path. 60 0.29 206
Elouera Street – on road cycle lanes. 20 0.09 219
Constitution Ave – off-road path. 80 0.31 254

Table 2: Projects recommended for completion by the November 2011 Trunk Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Report.

Project name Initial cost estimate ($,000) Effective-ness score (range 0-1) Initial cost per unit effective-ness ($,000) Revised cost estimate ($,000) Revised cost per unit effective-ness ($,000)
Accessible Street – Gungahlin. 25 0.3 84 80 269
Accessible Street – Woden Bradley St. 379 0.38 994 110 288
Accessible Street – Tuggeranong. 120 0.43 279 190 441
Kingston Foreshore Link – interim improvements to off road path. 110 0.26 430 150 586
Accessible Street – Belconnen. 138 0.35 393 430 1,224
Kings Avenue – on road lanes. 125 0.2 637 600 3,056
Civic Cycle Loop 180 0.36 503 5,250 14,660

Road Safety

How will you educate Canberra’s drivers to safely share streets with children?

Authorities such as Kidsafe recognise that Canberra drivers do not have the skills to safely share roads with children, and recommend against children walking unaccompanied on roads. Only 40% of Canberra drivers know the rules that require them to give way to children at intersections.

Will you require the police to enforce Road Rule 126: “Keeping a safe distance behind vehicles.“

40% of road crashes could be eliminated through effective enforcement of Rule 126. An NRMA survey found that tailgating is the practice that most annoys drivers.

The Act Policing Purchase Agreement requires the police to enforce speeding, seat belt, mobile phone and drink driving rules. It could also require them to enforce Rule 126.

What changes will you make to speed limits?

Fifty years ago it was illegal to drive at 50 km/h anywhere in Canberra.

In 1962 the annual road toll was 2,535. The urban speed limit was raised from 30 mph (48 km/h) to 35 mph (56 km/h), and in 1970 the road toll peaked at 3,798. It is estimated that the 1974 choice of a 60 km/h urban speed limit, rather than 50 km/h, has caused 2,700 additional road deaths.

What will you do to improve the contribution of pedestrian signals to road safety?

Canberra’s pedestrian signals spend a third of their time showing red when it is actually safe to proceed. Most Canberrans prefer to trust their own judgement, or to make risky mid-block crossings, rather than to rely on pedestrian signals.


  1. Some of the questions could be – “Do the Greens support? –

    Removing three quarters of the social housing in the ABC Flats, placing the remainder into concentrated blocks (rather than pepper-and-salting)

    Making no provision in the cost-benefit study to provide replacement social housing, despite 1,800 being on the waiting list.

    Using a Precinct Code to flaunt the existing RZ4/RZ5 planning codes for the ABC redevelopment e.g. building height limits, overshadowing, traffic management etc.

    Extending commercial zoning from Civic into the residential parts of Reid and Braddon, despite vacant premises throughout Civic e.g. Garema Place.

    Forcing people to park in nearby streets if they have more than one vehicle.

    Removal of 190 mature trees as part of the ABC redevelopment.

    Chris Emery
  2. I am disappointed there is no question related to the use of Precinct Codes to flout zoning requirements, for example in the ABC Flats Redevelopment. Residents would probably support the redevelopment if it complied with the government’s own RZ5 High Density Multi-unit zoning code.

    Chris Emery

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