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The unanimous decision by the ACT Legislative Committee to establish an ICAC is welcome news for Canberra, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.

“It is time to clean up Canberra from the mounting scandals that have been committed by the Labor Government with taxpayers’ money.

Whether it is millions of dollars being paid for land without valuations, secret deals for contracts or sweetheart deals with certain property developers, enough is enough.

“An anti-corruption commission can’t come soon enough. We need to clean up Canberra,” Mr Coe concluded.

Development activity at the Federal Golf Club should be suspended and investigated amid concerns of cronyism and a lack of government integrity, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.

The Federal Golf Club has attempted to build 125 retirement units on its land in Red Hill since 1998. In that time, the development plans have been met with fierce resistance by the community and both sides of government.

It was only after the golf club defected from Clubs ACT  ­­— a group that the Chief Minister and Gaming Minister have both publicly stated they will not meet with — to the Labor-friendly Canberra Community Clubs group that the Labor Government pushed through the golf club’s controversial development proposal.

“This deal is shrouded in controversy and reeks of cronyism,” Ms Lawder said.  

“The decision to proceed with the golf club’s proposal came only weeks after the club joined the Labor-friendly clubs groups."

“The Chief Minister’s community panel to consult with relevant stakeholders was also a sham; it consisted of three invitation-only meetings and was disbanded with many issues remaining unresolved."

“MLA’s were given two days’ notice of the meetings, and only permitted to attend small parts of the discussion, and in some cases locked out altogether."

“Community groups fear the process is a fait accompli, and the consultation was a sham."

“I am calling on the ACT Government to suspend all development until these integrity issues are resolved,” Ms Lawder concluded."

Under ACT Labor, taxation per household is increasing at an extraordinary rate, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.

 

Since the ACT Government announced its tax reform package in 2012, the increases have been much higher than inflation.

 

In 2017, local taxes per Canberra per household are an estimated $10,779.

 

By contrast, in 2012 taxation per household was $8,411. Five years of tax reform have increased tax per household by
28 per cent.

 

“Many Canberrans simply cannot afford these huge increases in the cost of living in Canberra,” Mr Coe said.

 

“Even those who can afford these increases must ask the question: are we getting value for money?”

“The ACT Government continues to bring in record revenue through ever increasing rates, taxes, fees and charges.

“The cost of living in Canberra is skyrocketing and it is no wonder so many people are finding our city unaffordable.

“The Government must demonstrate how it is going to ease the growing financial burden on Canberrans,” Mr Coe concluded.

 

The Canberra Liberals thank Steve Doszpot for his wonderful service to Canberra through his membership of the ACT Legislative Assembly since 2008, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.

“Steve has served the community with passion and purpose,” Mr Coe said.

“Since entering the Assembly as a Canberra Liberals MLA in 2008, Steve has set the standard for fighting on behalf of the community.

“Having pursued many community causes during his time in politics, Steve’s theme has always been to fight for people who may not have the ability or resources to help themselves. As such, Steve has made many friends and is well respected as a community champion.

“Some of the causes Steve’s has fought for include:

  • Standing up for the Shepherd Centre and Noah’s Ark when their future was uncertain;

  • Fighting to have a greater presence for nurses in Canberra’s special schools;

  • Driving legislative reform to empower school principals to have greater autonomy about how they manage their schools;

  • Advocating to have more ESL teachers; and

  • Supporting victims of bullying at CIT.

“He also advocated for many local initiatives, such as:

  • Better planning, especially around Manuka Oval, Yarralumla shops and at the Brickworks;

  • Park and Ride facilities in Calwell; and

  • Making Green Square in Kingston green again.

“He has made hundreds of representations for constituents about footpaths, street lights, grass mowing and so many other essential urban services issues.

“In recent times, Steve has championed the need for tougher laws to support victims of dog attacks and he is actively working on legislation to address this pressing need.

“Of course, he has also been a champion for local sporting clubs.

“Steve, on behalf of all of your colleagues, thank you for all you have done for Canberra.

“Despite serious health challenges, Steve is determined to raise awareness of liver cancer and to offer support for families of cancer suffers.

“Steve’s contribution to public life in the ACT will be missed,” Mr Coe concluded.

Steve was elected in 2008 and will serve until early December 2017. During his time as an MLA, he has been the Shadow Minister for Education; Sport and Recreation; Family and Community Services; Urban Services; and Seniors.

 

The ACT Government should stop skirting scrutiny on potential fire safety risks in all ACT public sector buildings that are fitted with combustible aluminium cladding, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Nicole Lawder said today.

“The Government has been aware of the fire safety risks associated with combustible cladding since at least 2009,” Ms Lawder said.

“In that time, it approved construction of at least one ACT public building that we know of, the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, using the combustible cladding.

“Following the tragic London Grenfell Tower fire where 80 people were killed, the Government conceded to the fire risks by confirming it would remove the cladding from the hospital while at the same time insisting that the building is safe.

“This does not stack up and despite numerous requests from the Opposition to set the record straight, the Government has opted to avoid scrutiny and withhold what could be vital information regarding the fire safety of public buildings.

“In light of these events, I am calling on the Government today to provide to the Assembly:

  • The audit report of ACT Government buildings.
  • All ACT Fire and Rescue reports on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.
  • The recommendations of the 2017 audit of all ACT Government health buildings constructed with aluminium cladding.
  • The Government’s plans to mitigate fire risks and related security issues associated with existing combustible cladding on all ACT government, private and residential buildings.

“I am also calling on the Government to advise the Assembly on why it approved the construction of the hospital considering the fire risk was known and why it is now removing the cladding when it insists the hospital is safe.

“You can’t have it both ways.

“To date, the Government has been evasive and uncooperative on what is a potentially life-threatening issue. Canberrans have the right to know if the building they live or work in is safe and my motion today gives the Government the opportunity to set the record straight,” Ms Lawder concluded.

 

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