6 June 2006

ACT Budget 06: other bits and bobs

| Kerces
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What else is the ACT Government’s plan for increased revenue collection and savings going to buy us? Well, in no particular order, this is what we’ll get:

First up is 60 new police officers. Simon Corbell said (with some figures I couldn’t quite follow) that this means the ACT will have 107 new police officers between 2004 and 2009, which may or may not be the amount recommended by some report a few years ago. This should make Steve Pratt happy anyway.

We are also getting 16 new firefighters and two new training colleges for them and their colleagues in the SES and volunteer brigades. The firies are also to get some new toys (as we reported earlier) which have some quite spectacular names – Aerial Fire Fighting Appliance (I think this may be the thing that can reach up 15-storey buildings from the other day), Heavy Fire Rescue Pump, Super Heavy Tanker and a Lighting Tower Vehicle. Two new Intensive Care Ambulances will also be purchased. The new emergency services headquarters and its associated training facilities in Fairbairn are expected to be completed by the middle of next year. Also $320,000 has been set aside to buy new protective clothing for emergency service staff and volunteers.

Interestingly, money is allocated for lots more CCTV cameras. 340 buses will be retrofitted with cameras (in addition to 50 which already have them). Also an extra 15 fixed cameras will be installed at the Jolimont Centres, Canberra Stadium, Manuka Oval and EPIC, bringing the system to a total of 30 cameras. There is also funding for a dedicated facility to receive the feeds of these 30 cameras to be built at the Winchester Police Centre in Belconnen and the maintenance contract for the system will be expanded.

$4.2 million over four years has been allocated for “targeted support for businesses”. As far as I can tell, this means providing information and advice, mentoring, developing networks and partnerships and entrepreneurship development (whatever that means). This announcement was accompanied by the usual bullshit about making Canberra a centre of innovation.

More money has been put aside for planning the party of the century (AKA our centenary celebrations).

Arts funding includes money to be used for “greater support of public art”. Apparently this includes the creation of new works at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (that’s the jail), the Gungahlin Drive Extension, the Canberra Glassworks, an ACT Memorial and a Ngunnawal artwork for City Walk. $259,000 is allocated for repairs and maintenance of arts facilities and I did wonder if this means replacing and/or restoring the existing public art that we have seen on the walking tour series. Also, plans are apparently well-progressed for a Belconnen arts centre on the shores of Lake Ginninderra.

The new Gungahlin suburb of Harrison is next in line for infrastructure spending with money allocated for new roads, a playing field and a combined primary and preschool there.

$500,000 is the amount thought needed to make Civic (sorry, Canberra Central) more lively and enticing to people who might want to live, work or play there. This includes funds for developing a long-term parking strategy, which sounds like a damn good idea.

More money is being thrown at ACTION, quite apart from the installation of CCTV cameras. It seems more bus stops and shelters will be made and the aged ticketing system will be replaced with something slightly more modern.

To fix road safety two more mobile speed cameras will be bought along with two new fixed red light/speed cameras on intersection and four fixed speed cameras to be placed on selected mid-block road sections (I’m thinking Northbourne and Adelaide avenues). This announcement was accompanied by assurances the cameras would only be placed on specific black spot areas and were definitely to improve road safety and not the government’s bank balance.

Municipal Services Minister John Hargreaves also announced funding over the next four years to improve the wheelchair accessible taxi (WAT) fleet. This appears to involve the government continuing to pay a $10 lift fee (I think this is for the taxi driver to load and unload the passenger’s wheelchair) and subsidise the cost of having to micro-manage the WAT fleet so it is more efficient.

Ngunnawal, Bonython, Chisholm and Torrens ovals will be restored after the drought’s desecration, as will part of Kippax and Melba playing fields.

The government is going to spend $10 million each year for the next three years on acquiring new public housing stock. The minister said this would be the equivalent of housing for 100 more families. There was some suggestion that they’re also going to sell some 500 currently held houses, but I couldn’t find where this came from (must have been more down in the nitty gritty that I didn’t get to). I think the answer was that these sales would not offset the cost of buying new properties, and would take place because the stock currently held does not meet what people want (which is mainly two-bedroom apartment-type things, apparently). Check out the Canberra Times tomorrow for more about this because it was their reporter chasing the point.

The government has also allocated more money to keep the Kangaroos AFL team playing three games a year in Canberra. I guess this means there will be another big push for crowd attendance next year.

And the last thing on my list is $750,000 for asbestos removal from government properties and schools.

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Hate to bust your bubble, but the ‘Police’ drag car was notjing to do with the AFP, it was sponsored by the AFPA, the Police Association…or union if you like.

Get your facts straight champ

Ari, a dragway’s basically a short, straigh strip right? I think us recumbent cyclists will stick with having races out at the Sutton driver training course (if they ever lower the insurance requirements again).

areaman, I’m awaiting a copy of a report into the “Drivewise” initiative I mentioned earlier which will hopefully dispell any unproven argument I may have brought to the table.

Well, Les, it should have been blatantely obvious from my comments that I had EXPERIENCED living close to the Dragway. What I had to say was based on EXPERIENCE. So shout and rant all you like, but I’m not “talking through my backside” but as someone who’s actually been there.

as for road safety, that’s a euphemism for basically saying that without a legal dragway, the proponents of it will go and do drag racing on public roads. Great.
From the screeching of tyres on the Pialligo/Fairbairn roundabout when they were coming/going, I’d have to question the road safety argument too.

The drag cars were much, much louder than any aeroplanes. But I guess that noise is OK so long as it’s borne by someone else, eh? Why don’t you propose that they build it right near where you live?

seepi, If you are anti-dragway for the reasons stated above then that is fine, you have every right to challenge the Government on its decisions.

My disgust was with earlier comments that were nothing more than broad generalisations masqueraded as facts.

If the AFP and NRMA are willing to back drag racing, I would say they’re pretty confident it will improve road safety.

That’s pretty weak circumstantial evidence. I think it’s just as likely they simply wanted to get some good publicity. Look dude I’m on your side with this, but don’t bring unproven arguments in as facts.

I’m sure SGS would be delighted to act as an unpaid consultant.

Hopefully the upgrade of ACTION’s ticketing system will see the introduction of Smartcards as the current system is crap and the card readers on the buses seem to be breaking down more and more frequently.

Here’s a dubious “fact” for you:

The Australian Federal Police developed and raced a mock patrol car at the former dragway to encourage off-street racing, and this was backed by sponsorship from the NRMA Road Safety Trust.
NRMA also currently sponsor the weekly street meets at Western Sydney International Dragway too.

If the AFP and NRMA are willing to back drag racing, I would say they’re pretty confident it will improve road safety. Not that I claimed a dragway in the ACT would improve road safety, merely that it was in the interests of the cause.

The Environmental Protection Agency has changed the ACT’s community noise standards to allow the dragway’s extensive and significant noise pollution in the inner north. These lofty standards have been good enough for the entire ACT up until now. The govt’s own noise study proves conclusively that noise will be much much louder than the aircraft noise we already get – basically to the level of completely drowing out conversation. I think it is very cynical of the govt to basically write off the rights and living standards of people in 6 suburbs, because they can afford to lose that many votes over this issue. and it seems insane to spend money on this, rather than on health/education/jobs.
Anyway – I’ve said my piece – I won’t bite anymore.

Hey I said I don’t care for the dragway, but others do so I had no problem with it.

Building a dragway is in the interest of the community AND road safety.

Actually the only research I’ve seen on the issue says it isn’t good for road safety. That doesn’t mean I think there shouldn’t be one, but let’s not put up highly dubious “facts” to back it up.

Les, open the dragway up to recumbent bike races and that’ll swing their support.

I don’t often get riled by comments on this website, but you narrow-minded, anti-dragway commentators can take your 2c thoughts and cram them fair up your proverbial tailpipe.

If any of you were as educated as you profess, then you would know that the vast majority of events held at the proposed facility would be for street cars no louder than you hear on the roads. Undoubtedly there would be an OCCASIONAL meeting with louder vehicles present, but this would only be a few times PER YEAR.

Besides, the proposed dragway is to be built under the current airport flight path, and I don’t hear anyone complaining about the noise of those thunderous machines.

Yes I am a dragway proponent. One of many who is educated enough on the subject to know when people are pushing the same tired arguments in the vague hope of swaying other nose-snubbers to jump on their bandwagon.
Building a dragway is in the interest of the community AND road safety. Just because it doesn’t meet with the lofty noise standards of the softly spoken, self-righteous do-gooders doesn’t mean that it is wrong.

I would be quite happy for the dragway to get the axe too, but I thought the 8 mil was all they wanted to build it, with the rest being private finance.

The other point is that as a capital expense the government can use proceeds from land sales and such to pay for it under the new accounting rules which they can’t do for health or education or any other ongoing service.

But again I’d rather see that chash pay for something else as I’m never going to go there, but the budget isn’t just for me.

I’m pro-dragway, but I think it should be shitcanned in favour of more important issues, of which there seem to be no shortage of.

Regarding the Dragway: if you don’t like brutally loud noise, ensure they don’t put it anywhere near you.

The noise tends to be very sudden and very violent/aggressive, and when it goes you can’t talk or do anything at normal volume. And there’s no warning. Often the big events go into the evening.

Worse, the patrons of it tend to favour loud cars, and louder harleys. They often have “nitro harley” events, to which every harley rider in NSW seems to be attracted, and they seem to camp at the dragway, making forays all night back and forth. On their harleys.

The amount of noise from the Dragway, and from its patrons, cannot be over-stated. Be wary.

There are plenty of places to work that aren’t the shopping centres. I am in a position to pick and choose, and I do. I’ll work in Civic if it’s short, or as a favour to the agency, but jeez I resent shelling out that much money. Lunch seems to cost more there, too.

UJnfortunately not. But the 8 million isn’t going to actually build it. They are still doing bogus consultation, and rewriting local noise laws to make the excessive noise in the inner north legal. It may be like the busway – they waste heaps on ‘scoping studies’ and then never actually do it. Or maybe they will build it. They have allowed 8 million in this budget.

So Ant, where will you work? Belco and Woden are pay parking as is The airport and I think Barton.

I contract. When they try to offer me jobs in Civic, it’s “nope”. Cheapest parking is $6 on the City west rooftop. But that fills early, you go round and round, only to get to the top and see it’s full. So then you have to park in the normal parking there, $10.
So I don’t work in Civic.

They are also spending 8 million on the dragway, and a few more millions on beginning the arboretum.

As far as I could tell, the only problem with the ACTION ticketing system was that it’s old. Not sure if they were talking about the prepaid ticket machines or the ones that print out tickets when you pay on the bus.

All those apartments near the Lakeside on those carparks are also the Liberals problem? yhink not.

What’s wrong with ACTION’s ticketing system?

actually the parking problem in civic is because o section 84, and that was a Liberal development.

Agreed about the parking.

Just watch them trot out the line that they are reducing the amount of parking as they have a sustainable transport plan which encourages us to get on ya bike.

Want to make civic more appealing? make the sodding parking easier and cheaper you dopes.

Civic and Dickson are equidistant for me. Where do I go?

Dickson, because I can park.

So just so I’m clear on this Nero Standope master of human rights is spending up big on CCTV so big brother can keep a better track on us all.

Go figure, but then again I didn’t think I’d ever see a labor polly reduce superannuation.

The two things I hate most about Standope. His face

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