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Barr responds on Oaks Estate

By Charlotte Harper - 5 October 2016 22

Andrew Barr
Chief Minister Andrew Barr says his Government has provided unprecedented access to representatives of the Oaks Estate community and has taken action to address some specific issues of concern to residents.

Every independent and minor party in Mr Barr’s electorate of Kurrajong, which takes in the suburb of Oaks Estate, has today pledged a series of commitments for the suburb given what they describe as government neglect.

Mr Barr this morning acknowledged that Oaks Estate was a unique community that did need a level of government attention.

“There are challenges in terms of service delivery given the size of the population, so some issues were able to easily be resolved and have been, others, you know, the system of prioritising upgrades to intersections or to pedestrian crossing or the like, there will be a hundred other intersections that have more people, more demand, more risk, but, nonetheless, we were able to address some specific issues at Oaks estate,” he said.

The ACT Government had worked with the Federal Government on some initiatives, he added.

“I think it’s unfair to say there’s been no attention paid to the area, we have had a number of meetings with residents and the Oaks Estate Progress Association over the last two years, in fact the entire cabinet met them, which I think would be unprecedented for any area of Canberra, for one suburb, to have the entire cabinet meet to discuss their various issues,” Mr Barr said.

“You also have to look at the needs of 400,000 people, and so we balance those things, but there have been initiatives in Oaks Estate, there will continue to be into the future, there’s been heritage work, planning work, police and road safety work, transport work, local government amenity, toilet facilities, playground upgrades, those sorts of things have all occurred.

“There’s more people who live on my street than live in Oaks Estate, so you’ve got to balance things.”

Mr Barr’s office provided the following list of ACT Government actions in relation to Oaks Estate since an April 2015 meeting between stakeholders and government.

· Members of the ACT Policing Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) met with the OEPA on 9 July 2015 to discuss crime and safety. CRU provided information about personal safety, Crime Stoppers, and provided fridge magnets with contact numbers for ACT Policing.
· CRU spoke with Mr Michael Starling, President, OEPA on 12 August 2015 about concerns of suspected criminal behaviour in Oaks Estate.
· ACT Policing continue to liaise with the OEPA and have agreed to attend future OEPA meetings if invited.
· ACT Policing conducted an audit on its activities within Oaks Estate, which, based on year-to-date averages, showed a similar level of traffic infringement notices issued in 2015 and 2016, and a small increase in traffic targeting and crime targeting activities.
· ACT Policing will continue patrols of Oaks Estate, including patrols to address speeding and anti-social driving.
· The Justice and Community Safety Directorate is working with Access Canberra to have new sites for mobile speed cameras in Oaks Estate up and running shortly (once baseline speed surveys are conducted).
· Minister Berry provided a contact and information on the services the St Vincent de Paul Society provides under the Samaritan Services Program in Oaks Estate.
· QCity confirmed it does run a normal timetable into Canberra during NSW school holidays.
· Railway Street in Oaks Estate has moved up in the warrant system since 2013 by 104 places and it currently ranks 98 in priority for detailed investigation in relation to local area traffic management.
· Roads ACT has completed an investigation of Railway Street looking at traffic volume and speed data, crash history and percentage of heavy vehicles, as well as surrounding land use such as the presence of shops or schools. The assessment indicated that Railway Street carries approximately 4,100 vehicles per day travelling at an average speed of around 54 km/h.
· An analysis of crash records at the Railway Street and McEwan Avenue intersection revealed there has been one reported crash at this location in the last seven years (2009-2015), with a total of seven crashes between Oaks Estate Road and McEwen Avenue. These results show Railway Street performs better compared with other similar roads in the ACT, and is therefore a lower priority for traffic management measures
· In 2015 Roads ACT completed an investigation at the intersection of McEwen Avenue and Railway Street intersection, with no indication that a pedestrian crossing is needed. Roads ACT will undertake a new survey at this location after school holidays to assess any changes to the pedestrian requirements.
· The Environment and Planning Directorate is reviewing Draft Variation to the Territory Plan No. 328 (DV328) for the Oaks Estate Precinct Map and Code in light of the submissions received through public consultation in early 2015. DV328 aims to protect the existing character of Oaks Estate by limiting building heights in the residential area, limiting the area that can be taken up by buildings and introducing setbacks to protect the heritage character of Robertson House.
· The draft variation has interim effect, which means development will have to comply with the provisions of the current Territory Plan and the provisions of DV328, with the more onerous provision taking precedence.
· There are no plans to release new blocks in Oaks Estate before the Queanbeyan sewerage works are upgraded, still several years away.
· The Heritage Council is currently considering if the Oaks Estate Precinct meets the threshold for heritage registration under the Heritage Act 2004. If the Council decides to register the Oaks Estate Precinct, heritage guidelines will be developed to protect the identified heritage values of the precinct.
· The Planning and Land Authority has received a development application for 30 units on block 25 section 3 Oaks Estate. This application is being assessed in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2007.
· The Heritage Council has endorsed a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Robertson House. This includes guidance on opportunities for public access, and presents further opportunity to build on the Oaks Estate community’s involvement in the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival, held in April each year.
· The Government has decided not to move the Railway Museum in Kingston to Oaks Estate because it would require significant funding to relocate and accommodate the collection of locomotives, carriages and other railway related memorabilia, additional railway tracks and associated infrastructure such as sheds, workshops and parking areas. In addition, the operational heavy rail facilities adjacent to Railway Street are on the NSW side of the border and the ACT has no jurisdiction over this land, preventing a direct land grant.

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22 Responses to
Barr responds on Oaks Estate
1
DangerMouse 8:34 pm
05 Oct 16
#

· Members of the ACT Policing Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) met with the OEPA on 9 July 2015….and provided fridge magnets

Are you kidding me?!? Seriously?!? fridge magnets?!? so the next time a guy is having an ice induced psychotic break covered in blood while hanging onto my letterbox in oaks estate…. Shall I hand him a fridge magnet?

2
TuggLife 9:29 am
06 Oct 16
#

DangerMouse said :

· Members of the ACT Policing Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) met with the OEPA on 9 July 2015….and provided fridge magnets

Are you kidding me?!? Seriously?!? fridge magnets?!? so the next time a guy is having an ice induced psychotic break covered in blood while hanging onto my letterbox in oaks estate…. Shall I hand him a fridge magnet?

It’s OK, Minister Berry provided information on services Vinnies provides. Perhaps you can hand him a brochure, too?

This is a detailed, but poor response. While there are clearly community safety issues, treating it as a police problem, rather than a transport, employment and engagement problem, is a mistake, and ignores the root of the problem: if you’re a recently released prisoner, put into public housing in Oaks Estate, how are you supposed to get about, buy food and entertain yourself, if you can’t physically access 99% of the territory’s infrastructure?

To give a specific, unrelated example, if you have a baby in Oaks Estate and have no access to transport, how are you supposed to attend maternal and child health clinics given that you can’t access New South Wales clinics with an ACT address? You end up missing the ACT-based clinics, missing vaccinations and missing opportunities for Early Intervention.

3
A_Cog 1:03 pm
06 Oct 16
#

TuggLife said :

…This is a detailed, but poor response…

Exactly. Our crime has doubled in recent years, but policing declined 92% and then the cops hand out fridge magnets. Stop laughing, I’m serious.

All Barr’s other twaddle is exactly what he said on Chief Minister Talk Back on 22 July 2016. It was garbage then, and it’s still garbage now.

As for the ACTION bus, and Barr’s claim of 300 people vs 400,000, try this: announced in June 2016, the City Loop bus service is a FREE loop service 49 TIMES PER DAY for roughly 500 passengers per day to swan around the city and meet mates for lunch. It is funded from the $96 million in Community Service Obligation funding that ACTION gets from the ACT Govt.

But Barr cannot give an ACTION bus to the poorest suburb in Canberra, which includes 54% public housing and 50% unemployment.

Canberrans can catch flights to foreign countries, but we can’t even catch a bus to the city.

That’s our top pollie.

4
wildturkeycanoe 11:00 am
07 Oct 16
#

TuggLife said :

ignores the root of the problem: if you’re a recently released prisoner, put into public housing in Oaks Estate, how are you supposed to get about, buy food and entertain yourself, if you can’t physically access 99% of the territory’s infrastructure?

To give a specific, unrelated example, if you have a baby in Oaks Estate and have no access to transport, how are you supposed to attend maternal and child health clinics given that you can’t access New South Wales clinics with an ACT address? You end up missing the ACT-based clinics, missing vaccinations and missing opportunities for Early Intervention.

To address the first three issues,

“get about” – How about like the rest of the world? Firstly, you have two feet, so you can either walk or ride a pushbike. There is a bus service going through Oaks Estate, which rarely gets a mention in this one sided argument, which can take you firstly to Queanbeyan and then onward to Canberra. It isn’t just Oaks Estate that has poor public transport, there are some journeys in Canberra that can take you up to two hours to reach your desired destination using Action services.
If you can save up and have a license, perhaps you can buy a motorcycle or car like most ordinary folks. The only thing stopping these people is their own lack of initiative.

“buy food” – There is a shopping center a mere 2km away, reachable by either foot, public transport or vehicle. This is the same distance as the local shops are from my Canberra suburban house. Why do they need something closer than people in Canberra have?

“entertain yourself” – Seriously? It is now the government’s responsibility to keep us entertained? The Oaks Estate area has nothing less than most Canberra suburbs in terms of things to do. Only a short distance away is the entire city of Queanbeyan, with all of its entertainment on offer. There is a river only a stone’s throw away and a local park. What exactly do they want, an indoor cricket center, a cinema, ice skating arena or perhaps a brothel?
Why do the residents of Oaks Estate seem to think the A.C.T/N.S.W border is a razor wire fence guarded by alsatians being led by armed soldiers? It is effectively just another suburb of Queanbeyan that happens to be on the other side of the border. When the West Macgregor project gets underway and they expand into N.S.W, do you think the Yass Shire Council is going to provide the same things that the Oaks Estate residents want, or will the New South Welshmen residents simply accept the fact that they need to go into the Kippax Center for their daily needs?

Now, the whole baby thing is really a desperate plea for attention. There are probably tens of thousands of parents in Australia who live remotely, or even in cities, that have to travel a certain distance to get health services. How difficult is it to organize a day out with baby, on a public bus, to go into the city and attend a scheduled appointment? If you haven’t got enough money for a concessional bus fare, with the additional family benefits available today, then there are deeper concerns than just meeting regular appointments, but nothing that is exclusively the fault of living in Oaks Estate.

People are making out that this is a derelict shanty town, void of any forms of civilization. But they have a bottle shop! Obviously the demand was there, showing what the Oaks Estate residents felt was the most important need.
Look at Collector, up on the road to Sydney. It has a population just larger than Oaks Estate but they don’t even have a local store. They get two buses a day to take them to the nearest shopping complex. You can get from Oaks Estate to Canberra City in roughly an hour and there are well over forty services a day! All they have to do is get off their backsides and walk to the bus stop.
Please, it isn’t that hard to live in a place that has all this going for it. If you don’t like it, then move. If you are stuck there because of circumstance, I’d put money on it being a decision made previously in life that led to that happening. You reap what you sow.

5
wildturkeycanoe 11:07 am
07 Oct 16
#

A_Cog said :

TuggLife said :

…This is a detailed, but poor response…

Exactly. Our crime has doubled in recent years, but policing declined 92% and then the cops hand out fridge magnets. Stop laughing, I’m serious.

All Barr’s other twaddle is exactly what he said on Chief Minister Talk Back on 22 July 2016. It was garbage then, and it’s still garbage now.

As for the ACTION bus, and Barr’s claim of 300 people vs 400,000, try this: announced in June 2016, the City Loop bus service is a FREE loop service 49 TIMES PER DAY for roughly 500 passengers per day to swan around the city and meet mates for lunch. It is funded from the $96 million in Community Service Obligation funding that ACTION gets from the ACT Govt.

But Barr cannot give an ACTION bus to the poorest suburb in Canberra, which includes 54% public housing and 50% unemployment.

Canberrans can catch flights to foreign countries, but we can’t even catch a bus to the city.

That’s our top pollie.

That is incorrect. Oaks Estate residents can get a bus to Civic over 40 times a day, they just need to walk a short distance to the nearest stop. The concession fare is only $1.20, full fare $2.60 and applied as follows “*** When Oaks Estate residents board in QBN to travel to Civic and show proof of residence”. Canberrans pay double for the privilege.
All Canberrans also have to walk a distance to catch a bus unless they have a stop directly outside their home, this is not a unique hurdle to that area.

6
Garfield 1:19 pm
07 Oct 16
#

Given its distance from major ACT infrastructure, could the government move the public housing tenants to other areas in Canberra where they’re closer to the needed services and then sell off the properties for redevelopment?

7
A_Cog 1:52 pm
07 Oct 16
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

…That is incorrect. Oaks Estate residents can get a bus to Civic over 40 times a day, they just need to walk a short distance to the nearest stop… All Canberrans also have to walk a distance to catch a bus unless they have a stop directly outside their home, this is not a unique hurdle to that area.

Sorry wildturkey, but you’re off-mark. (1) It’s not a “short” distance. Residents have to walk 1 km to the Q-city stop at Uriarra Rd. (2) “All Canberrans have to walk…” – ACTION has a rule that 95% of residents are 500m from a bus stop. Why should a community with so much disadvantage and disability be forced to walk double that distance to catch a private NSW bus, but everyone else is gifted ACT-funded buses to their doorstep? (3) There’s not 40 Q-city buses a day, there’s 20. (4) the prices are now $2.60 for Q-city, which is near the same for ACTION.

8
dungfungus 4:30 pm
07 Oct 16
#

wildturkeycanoe said :

A_Cog said :

TuggLife said :

…This is a detailed, but poor response…

Exactly. Our crime has doubled in recent years, but policing declined 92% and then the cops hand out fridge magnets. Stop laughing, I’m serious.

All Barr’s other twaddle is exactly what he said on Chief Minister Talk Back on 22 July 2016. It was garbage then, and it’s still garbage now.

As for the ACTION bus, and Barr’s claim of 300 people vs 400,000, try this: announced in June 2016, the City Loop bus service is a FREE loop service 49 TIMES PER DAY for roughly 500 passengers per day to swan around the city and meet mates for lunch. It is funded from the $96 million in Community Service Obligation funding that ACTION gets from the ACT Govt.

But Barr cannot give an ACTION bus to the poorest suburb in Canberra, which includes 54% public housing and 50% unemployment.

Canberrans can catch flights to foreign countries, but we can’t even catch a bus to the city.

That’s our top pollie.

That is incorrect. Oaks Estate residents can get a bus to Civic over 40 times a day, they just need to walk a short distance to the nearest stop. The concession fare is only $1.20, full fare $2.60 and applied as follows “*** When Oaks Estate residents board in QBN to travel to Civic and show proof of residence”. Canberrans pay double for the privilege.
All Canberrans also have to walk a distance to catch a bus unless they have a stop directly outside their home, this is not a unique hurdle to that area.

These are services by Q City and according to their transit fare page, there appears to be no return journey available from anywhere in the ACT to Oaks Estate.

Maybe there is an assumption that the travellers will be detained in Civic so they won’t need a return trip.

9
Maya123 5:12 pm
07 Oct 16
#

A_Cog said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

…That is incorrect. Oaks Estate residents can get a bus to Civic over 40 times a day, they just need to walk a short distance to the nearest stop… All Canberrans also have to walk a distance to catch a bus unless they have a stop directly outside their home, this is not a unique hurdle to that area.

Sorry wildturkey, but you’re off-mark. (1) It’s not a “short” distance. Residents have to walk 1 km to the Q-city stop at Uriarra Rd. (2) “All Canberrans have to walk…” – ACTION has a rule that 95% of residents are 500m from a bus stop. Why should a community with so much disadvantage and disability be forced to walk double that distance to catch a private NSW bus, but everyone else is gifted ACT-funded buses to their doorstep? (3) There’s not 40 Q-city buses a day, there’s 20. (4) the prices are now $2.60 for Q-city, which is near the same for ACTION.

It’s hard for those with disability, but most other people can walk one km. On wet days when I used to catch the bus to work, I needed to walk two kms to and from the bus at my work end. That’s four kms a day. It was easy and gave me some pleasant exercise. Another alternative is to get an old bike and ride it to the bus stop and chain it up there.

10
wildturkeycanoe 5:48 pm
07 Oct 16
#

A_Cog said :

Sorry wildturkey, but you’re off-mark. (1) It’s not a “short” distance. Residents have to walk 1 km to the Q-city stop at Uriarra Rd. (2) “All Canberrans have to walk…” – ACTION has a rule that 95% of residents are 500m from a bus stop. Why should a community with so much disadvantage and disability be forced to walk double that distance to catch a private NSW bus, but everyone else is gifted ACT-funded buses to their doorstep? (3) There’s not 40 Q-city buses a day, there’s 20. (4) the prices are now $2.60 for Q-city, which is near the same for ACTION.

There is a Q-city loop that goes through Oaks Estate twice a day for those who can’t handle the distance. So they have to walk a whole kilometre, big deal! To get particular Action services that would take me where I needed to go at the time I wished, I’d need to walk well over a kilometre and a half. If they can’t walk to Queanbeyan to catch a bus or to buy food, then they really need to be living with a carer or organize an electric scooter.
The town I grew up in I had to walk or ride my bike almost 2 km to get to the shops and there were no local buses to get around in, except for the school bus for those lived far away enough from their school of choice. I can’t believe how hard things must be for the poor people who have to be so far isolated from society that ten minutes is too far to access basic services.
Say the government did intervene and agreed to help. How often would they want the bus to go past? Four times a day? Ten, twenty? To what end and at whose cost, considering that the whole township could be evacuated with only five vehicles? I would wager the buses ran at a total loss and empty 90% of the time.

11
torana68 6:37 pm
07 Oct 16
#

Why not return Oakes Estate to NSW ? ACT has no interest in it or anyone who lives there.

12
JC 7:08 pm
07 Oct 16
#

A_Cog said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

…That is incorrect. Oaks Estate residents can get a bus to Civic over 40 times a day, they just need to walk a short distance to the nearest stop… All Canberrans also have to walk a distance to catch a bus unless they have a stop directly outside their home, this is not a unique hurdle to that area.

Sorry wildturkey, but you’re off-mark. (1) It’s not a “short” distance. Residents have to walk 1 km to the Q-city stop at Uriarra Rd. (2) “All Canberrans have to walk…” – ACTION has a rule that 95% of residents are 500m from a bus stop. Why should a community with so much disadvantage and disability be forced to walk double that distance to catch a private NSW bus, but everyone else is gifted ACT-funded buses to their doorstep? (3) There’s not 40 Q-city buses a day, there’s 20. (4) the prices are now $2.60 for Q-city, which is near the same for ACTION.

I live in suburban ACT and the walk to my closest bus stop is 900m. Now yes the government, and not Action wants people to be within a 500m walk, but you quote the figure of 95% which means there are 5% that are not. I am one, clearly parts of Oaks Estate are too. As for the fare, a cash ticket on Action is $4.70 though yes with transfer, so that means Oaks Estate it is actually cheaper than what other Canberra residents pay. Though with a myway 30c more.

And yeah not 40 services a day to Civic, but about 40 a day to the ACT, half to Woden and half to Civic. Which is a better service than most of the ACT actually.

dungfungus said :

These are services by Q City and according to their transit fare page, there appears to be no return journey available from anywhere in the ACT to Oaks Estate.

Maybe there is an assumption that the travellers will be detained in Civic so they won’t need a return trip.

Half right, there is no return fare, there are return services. Just means Oaks Estate residents need to pay two fares, just like what would happen in the ACT.

So seems they don’t have it too bad afterall.

13
Lurker2913 8:49 pm
07 Oct 16
#

The territory government should compulsory acquire all the properties in Oaks Estate, relocate the residents to other parts of the territory and level the suburb. I believe the suburbs geographical location was an intentional political decision which was wrong. We think we are progressive but let stuff like this continue.

14
torana68 9:14 am
08 Oct 16
#

Lurker2913 said :

………………………. I believe the suburbs geographical location was an intentional political decision which was wrong. We think we are progressive but let stuff like this continue.

I said “Give it back” because it was part of Queanbeyan originally until the ACT border was drawn up.

15
A_Cog 9:56 am
08 Oct 16
#

WildTurkey, JC, and Maya123:
Do you really think that public transport arrangements should be the SAME, or WORSE, for the poorest and most disadvantaged suburb in the ACT?

Or, do you think the ACT Govt should do more than zero for a suburb of 55% public housing and functional unemployment close to 50%, and whose rates have tripled in the last decade?

ACTION get $96m in Community Service Obligation funding from the ‘gubmint and I cannot think of a community they are more obliged to service.

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