Growing up in Yarrawonga in regional Victoria, I remember fondly the strong sense of community that the town had and how tight knit the people were.
My parents ran a small restaurant and so I grew up serving tables, washing dishes and meeting everyone who came through the door – tourists and locals alike.
Attending the local school, hanging out with friends on the Murray River where everyone would go to relax and soak up the fresh air, I loved my childhood and always had such a strong sense of community and pride in my town.
Flash forward and I’m now living in Gungahlin with a family of my own. I still believe strongly in having pride in your home and your community.
I see so much of it in my own neighbourhood: the local cafes bustling with locals catching up on their way to drop off kids or going to work, neighbourhood libraries and food pantries, community gardens and groups like the Mow Bonner Collective that run regular clean ups and verge maintenance sessions.
As well as this strong community spirit, Gungahlin is surrounded by some fantastic landscapes and environment. Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, Franklin and Mulanggari Grasslands, One Tree Hill and the areas around Hall, and the hills behind Gungahlin leading into New South Wales. There are truly some great spots that enhance the community spirit.
While Gungahlin residents overwhelmingly take pride in our community, there are sadly a rare few who do not do the right thing in preserving our region and keeping our suburbs clean.
Illegal dumping and littering is happening every day in our suburbs. There are vacant blocks with household rubbish dumped on a regular basis, construction rubbish and loose litter, rubbish in parks, around bins and at the back of local shops and, of course, dumped and torched cars on the sides of roads.
It is because of the actions of the odd few that the community at large suffers and are tasked with cleaning up the mess.
I continue to hear from residents who are increasingly disappointed that litter and illegal dumping is largely overlooked by the Labor Government.
Waiting months for rubbish to be cleaned up, and weeks for burnt out cars abandoned on the side of roads to be cleared away is simply not good enough.
It shouldn’t be this way.
Gungahlin residents are paying some the highest taxes in Canberra while local businesses are being taxed more than ever. The community rightly expects, and indeed is paying for the ACT Government to deliver basic government services, such as cleaning up suburbs and tackling illegal dumping. Gungahlin residents want and deserve a government that genuinely cares about where people live and wants to foster pride in our neighbourhoods.
The Canberra Liberals want to make Gungahlin the best place to live, work and raise a family. We are committed to bringing the focus back to the things that matter – reducing cost-of-living pressures and delivering the services that families rely on.
That’s why a Canberra Liberals government will provide free bulky waste collections twice a year to give residents a free, easy way to dispose of old furniture and goods.
It’s about delivering real and practical solutions to make life easier for Canberrans and to help more families get ahead. Our commitment to make reporting of and responding to illegal dumping easier will ensure residents aren’t left waiting weeks and months on end for rubbish to be cleared away.
We all have a choice when it comes to making a difference. Labor is simply too tired and has lost focus on the things that matter to local communities and families.
It starts with delivering real and practical solutions to make Gungahlin the best place to live, work and raise a family.
James Milligan is a Liberal Member for Yerrabi in the ACT Legislative Assembly.