8 July 2019

Abolish the NCA to get Light Rail moving

| Bec Cody MLA
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Labor MLA and member for Murrumbidgee Bec Cody believes the NCA is stifling progress on Light Rail Stage Two. Image of proposed light rail route to Woden: Supplied.

Labor MLA Bec Cody believes the NCA is stifling progress on Light Rail Stage 2. Image of proposed Light Rail route to Woden: Supplied.

Last week, the ACT Government has been forced to break up the project of extending Light Rail to Woden. City to the Lake, and then onto Woden.

There has been wild speculation in the media about how much this will delay the project. To be honest, I do not know.

The good news is that by breaking it up, we can get work started on the first section, and get more Canberrans into work building it.

As far as the second part goes, that is in the hands of the National Capital Authority and their skills at delaying projects and stifling our community. I wanted Light Rail to Woden to be under construction by now, and I’m sorry the Government haven’t achieved it. With Interest Rates at one per cent, there has never been a better time for Government to invest in infrastructure.

When I run up Mt Ainslie and look out over Canberra, I compare it with the Burley Griffin plan. The plan was for a dense city of Government departments clustered around the Parliament, and Adelaide Avenue lined with medium rise buildings. When I look at what’s there, I see a dead heart, an open wasteland of nothingness. What should be the bustling centre of our National Capital is bleak, visionless and holding our city back.

As a Southsider, with an office in Civic, I travel through the NCA designated area most days. Whenever I can, I cycle to work. The connections are awful around the city area. Across the South side of Canberra, there is great cycling infrastructure, but then you hit NCA designated areas and you get lost.

Unless you are very familiar with the area, trying to get from the fantastic on-road cycling areas on Adelaide Avenue to the city centre is difficult. You have to go on bike paths, then on to footpaths, then back on to the road with limited designated cycling area. And this is only one example.

I’ve tried to walk around the NCA designated area, and it was not easy. What at first glance looks like grand national buildings in parkland is mostly inaccessible by foot. Anyone who has seen stranded tourists attempting to access Anzac Avenue from the lake by dashing across Parkes Way knows the reality: the NCA designated area is designed for cars.

Imagine if every second block of Washington, London, or Paris was demolished, asphalted, and used for parking? It’s not the way to run a city or show off our national monuments.

They say the purpose of the National Capital Authority is to protect the character of our national monuments. Protect them from what? From the people of Canberra? We are not savages. In fact, the people of Canberra have more interest in maintaining and improving the character of our national capital than anyone else. These areas are our most important asset, our biggest tourist attraction, and bring many business visitors to our city.

Nobody has more at stake in making these assets attractive than us.

Instead of improving the amenity of our city, the National Capital Authority applies its bureaucratic control to keep the dead heart of our National Capital stuck in 1969. It actively rejects the Burley Griffin vision, whilst loyally defending every planning mistake made since.

With the exception of the NCA area of control, we can see the vitality of inner-city communities from Braddon to Kingston. Whilst I like living in the suburbs with space for a motorbike and a dog or two, I meet a lot of people today who want to live in an apartment, they want to walk to a cafe, bar or restaurant, and enjoy a higher-density lifestyle. That was the Burley Griffin vision, and the lifestyle being embraced by many.

It’s time to abolish the National Capital Authority. It’s a waste of Federal Taxpayer expense and a roadblock to the development of our city. If it were not for the NCA’s commitment to preserving a museum of planning mistakes in the centre of our city, Canberra could keep improving its public transport, raise densities, and be a more pedestrian-friendly place for tourists.

Bec Cody is the Labor member for Murrumbidgee.

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Anyone hear Ms Cody’s train wreck interview on 666 this morning? She couldn’t articulate her views and never actually answered a single question asked of her. How about she fix the issues her party has created for Tuggeranong, before worrying about more housing activity in the parliamentary triangle.

Rowan Cairns5:50 pm 10 Jul 19

Yeah Canberra is a wasteland. It’s such a wasteland that Stirling has just lost a open full size afl field to “commercial and residential” (ground 3). Your light rail won’t come to weston creek, I work in a industrial area so I will never use it. My kids (10 and 8) have to catch 2 buses to school from Rivett to Holder, my daughter had to wait 11 months to have her tonsils out but yeah the NCA is the real issue in Canberra. The last 5-6 years this place has gone to crap because of the government. On a side note, whose idea was it to block off turning lanes onto Northbourne at lights? A 24 tonne truck can’t manoeuvre how you want So I now use back streets. Ffs think of the implications before you think and act. You are destroying the ACT

Everyone must be so happy our assembly was expanded some years ago so we could get more hard working MLAs – just like Bec Cody. Who knew there was so much “open wasteland of nothingness” that required filling up with “higher-density lifestyle”. Good thing people can judge for themselves all the “fantastic” planning decisions being made across the other 99% of Canberra. It’s not the NCA we need to get rid of.

There was a time in history when politicians were deal makers and worked across every interested party to come to a resolution for the great good of the community. Alas all we have now are children masquerading as community leaders who cross their arms, stamp their legs up and down and go red faced and demand that the other party be abolished all because they don’t get their way. What a bunch of children!

This article essay is so out of touch with reality I actually had to check the byline a couple of times to confirm it was an MLA that wrote it and that it wasn’t interested see If Bec really looks out from Mount Ainslie and sees the very spaces that make Canberra special as “wasted spaces” and thinks she’s going to win friends by planning to rip out car parks and green spaces and fill the lot up with yet more disgusting apartment buildings we are in a lot of trouble.

Actually talk to people Bec. The Canberra you are talking about is unequivocally NOT the way it should be. And if you don’t love Canberra the way it has always been you should really go to a place more to your liking. Pretty much every city in Australia has plenty of ugly grey buildings for you to admire. We don’t need to do that to the parts of our beautiful city that you have not yet defaced. Thank goodness the NCA will not let you do it to the parliamentary triangle.

Mike of Canberra10:00 pm 09 Jul 19

So this is what we’re getting from “our” ACT Government? Please, please, please Canberra stop mucking around and vote this lot out next year and elect the alternative.

With the Barr Government failing to deliver the fundamental basics, why are they spend an obscene amount of money on light rail? Ego is all I can think of.

Yep, the ego of the Greens. They wanted light rail, Barr wanted to continue in the “bosses” job. He caved in to the Greens and they let him be boss.

I am 0% in favour of getting rid of the NCA and 100% in favour of getting rid of this over self inflated egotistical government that we have here in Canberra. Barr, Cody and all the rest of them are just the equivalent of local council members that should be far more concerned with serving us Canberrans than themselves.

Politics aside, I cannot believe this person is an elected representative. Doesn’t Canberra have better to offer than this?

I recall Bec Cody saying she was from a town in NSW, but I can’t confirm this. If you think Canberra’s open spaces are wasteland maybe live somewhere else! What do your constituents want, Bec? Have you, you know, spoken to them?? You represent the electorate, not developers.

HiddenDragon7:14 pm 08 Jul 19

By way of comparison with the capital of the nation with which we often liken ourselves, the ever-interesting Wikipedia advises that –

“The Government of the District of Columbia operates under Article One of the United States Constitution and the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolves certain powers of the United States Congress to the Mayor and thirteen-member Council. However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs. “


“The mayor and council set local taxes and a budget, which must be approved by the Congress. “


Interesting to note that DC, with a population at least half as large again as Canberra’s, and a budget three to four times the size of the ACT Government, manages with thirteen members.

Capital Retro10:26 am 10 Jul 19

And the United States is the only developed nation that treats paid time off as a perk rather than a right. While countries like Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain each offer their citizens more than 30 days off a year in annual leave and paid holidays, the United States offers… zero.

Australia guarantees at least 20 paid days leave a year plus that ridiculous holiday loading that no one else gives.

It’s all about productivity – same reason we don’t have a car manufacturing industry anymore.

The Yanks manage things efficiently. Labor has to placate all the factions, they want their pay-off.

Oh dear! Bec Cody going off on another wobbly tangent. Bec and the ACT “Government” need to remember Rule 1: The ACT is established as the National Capital to serve all Australians and Australia, the NCA has a function to perform under, as I recall it, the Seat of Government ACT of about 1900. The ACT “Government” and the citizens of the ACT are subservient to the Commonwealth legislation so anyone with any idea of abolishing the NCA would be better advised to leave the Territory. Remember that’s what it is, at Territory, it has very little in the way of states rights.

So Mr Barr is feeling frustrated his idea of progress isn’t progressing and the CFMMEU members must be sitting around twiddling their thumbs huh?

Unbelievable that Bec Cody thinks Canberrans can trust the current ACT government more than the NCA to provide the character they want. A government that describes a clump of trees as underutilised space. I can’t imagine what they would do if they got control of Parkes and the lake. Well, actually, I can imagine it, and it horrifies me.

HiddenDragon6:21 pm 08 Jul 19

Bearing in mind that, given the chance, the majority of Canberrans (i.e. those not on the ACT Government payroll) would very likely vote to abolish self-government, and that the majority of Australians (the 98% or so who do not live in Canberra) would happily abolish Canberra, the idea of abolishing things that are currently inconvenient may not be a smart precedent.

When you cut through the bulldust about the proportion of Canberrans not (directly) employed by government, the fact is that the ACT Government is essentially a glorified strata manager for the Canberra component of the federal civilian and military workforce, and for tertiary institutions which are heavily reliant on federal funding and policies (especially re overseas students) – so it’s hardly surprising that a federal government of either persuasion would want to place some constraints on it.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of the original post is that it’s emblematic of a government which has become obsessed with property development, almost as an end in itself, and certainly as an illusory substitute for sustainable fiscal and economic policies.

So, Bec Cody has laid bare to Canberrans the actual agenda of the Barr Government: trash Canberra’s heritage and encourage Geocon to build more and more cheap flats (anyone who has been inside their mean little flats with low ceilings and poor design, but promoted with truth-deficit neuro-marketing, won’t want Geocon anywhere near the core of Canberra) . Let me remind you, Bec Cody, that the only reason Mt Ainslie isn’t infested with houses all the way up is that it was under the protection of the NCA when the ACT Government (yep – your Legislative Assembly colleagues) proposed carving it up into prestige housing, and the NCA sent the local government packing. As for your whinge about the vista along Anzac Parade and to Parliament House – what exactly is the problem with having a city with protected views, publicly owned landscape and amazing urban vistas?

BowditchPitch4:16 pm 08 Jul 19

Cody just wants to abolish the NCA so Labor can do whatever they want – ie light rail and the building up of high density living around it. The suburbs either side of Adelaide Avenue are lovely – curtin, deakin, hughes – and hardly a ‘wasteland.’ I think Bec Cody mistakenly believes that we all wanted the light rail and are now desperate for stage 2. She may not appreciate our beautiful city but most of us do.

Should Bec Cody be focusing on the Urban areas she can control, rather than the areas that she can’t?

I would think that reinstating the Bus routes that she took away and ensuring the outer suburbs from Tuggeranong to West Belconnen to Gungahlin have adequate facilities and services would be a better use of her time and effort.

I would say it was of far more urgency that we boot ACT Labor out of power. Not like you have any real power though, while Comrade Rattenbury has you over a barrel and you are too scared to say no to his crazy schemes because you are scared he will switch sides.


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