12 October 2007

Video of Jon Stanhope at the Gungahlin Community Council Meeting

| Jonathon Reynolds
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On Wednesday October 10, 2007 the ACT Chief Minister – Mr. Jon Stanhope MLA presented to the Gungahlin Community Council.

The entire presentation (incorporating the Chief Minister) went for just over an hour and the video has been broken down in to 9 separate parts for your entertainment and viewing pleasure.

The Gungahlin Community Council Inc. now maintains its own YouTube page. It is hoped that future meetings will be taped and “highlights” of these meetings will be posted to YouTube for exposure to a wider audience.

For the majority of RiotACT readers who may have never attended a community council meeting (and there are several in the Territory, covering each of the regional areas), this video gives an interesting insight as to the topics covered in such meetings (which, given the readership of the RiotACT many would consider somewhat boring and mundane) and an indication of the access such meetings afford to politicians and senior bureaucrats within the Government.

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Gungahlin Al3:59 pm 16 Oct 07

Again Cameron, I can’t speak for other CCs, but it is an issue of which we are very conscious. Therefore we go out and ask people. Gungahlin Community Council undertakes a community survey periodically. The full report the one we did this year is here: http://www.gcc.asn.au/content/view/339/318/ and includes an absolute stack of free text comments made by the respondents. We base much of what we pursue with the authorities on this sort of feedback. A similar survey was done by GCC about 3 years back and the report on that one is in one of the back-issues of the newsletter available online. The survey was published on the website and via our newsleter, which as I said before went to every hous – at that stage about 13,000 of them. Entry of the manual responses was a major undertaking!

We have opened up the redesigned website http://www.gcc.asn.au to allow community comment on articles, and articles posted by residents and groups. It’s not RA, but is growing in use.

We receive emails, letters and calls from residents asking for help with various R/R/R issues and venting about other concerns like planning and road design, and we pass these on to the right people in the government for attention/feedback, backed by our own input/support as required. (Many people think we are a local government due to the historic naming, so we get lots of these sort of things.)

But like any community group, more involvement from others is welcome. Given that the unique Community Council structure is formalised in ACT, numerous departments come directly to each of the CCs for feedback, Chief Minister’s budget feedback requests, DA notices, planning consultations (such as our submission on the draft Territory Plan – see here: http://www.gcc.asn.au/content/view/340/326/ ), inquiries, that sort of thing. Each CC is represented on ACTPLA’s Planning and Development Forum, and several on the Airport Noise Consultative Forum. So there are considerable demands on our volunteer time. Multiple candidates for vacancies is a luxury seldom afforded. I’m sure TCC would love to hear from you!


One other question while we’re at it… what sort of a mandate can the community councils claim to lobby on behalf of the community?

How many people elect the board? Can that number really claim to be representative of the people and thus understand what they want within the community?

Gungahlin Al2:30 pm 16 Oct 07

Not at all Cameron. I appreciate your interest in the topic.

I hope you’re not suggesting that I’m sprouting aspersions about ulterior motives or that I’m a bitter twisted jerk.

If, as you have claimed, that it’s having an impact, then happy days. I have limited knowledge of the issues affecting Gungahlin (it’s nearly impossibly for me to live further away from it whilst remaining within Canberra), so your list of achievements doesn’t mean a great deal to me.

As a Tuggeranong residence I’m not sure that I could care less about airport noise. The TCC gets Tharwa Dr duplicated (instead of allowing the government to divert the funding allocated to it to the bloody GDE – overbudget partially due to the crying minority from Save The Ridge) and I’ll be their poster boy.

Gungahlin Al11:33 am 16 Oct 07

Cameron, I don’t know too much about what they do down at Tuggers, but they have certainly been active lobbying regarding airport noise.

The level of activity however is more a function of community maturity. Tuggers has essentially been developed for some time now, but now major employment injecions are now helping fix some of the past mistakes governments have made there.

With Gungahlin town centre and many new suburbs under way now, there is much that concerns local residents and much that could be improved. Many of us live there because it is almost the only new land going, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept that all is rosy planning-wise.

So instead of bleating on after the fact, we get active and do our best to improve things that haven’t happened yet. And to do that means we have to be vocal.

Unfortunately there are always some pratts who can’t accept that you’d be doing it for the good of your community, and feel they have to go around websites sprouting anonymous aspersions about ulterior motives. But the world will always have bitter twisted jerks – we just move on.

Small victories AL.

On the big issues, the Government does what it wants and throws you a few bones to placate you:

School closures.

22 stories to 18, big deal. It will still be a tall building on a hill overshadowing all and sundry.

A10s are still there. I recall Barr saying they are good as providing housing choice. Apartment blocks on Northbourne Avenue, how many times they were objected to by local resident groups (the one near the ABC) but still their development happened.

Individuals in these groups start to think, “Woow I am good. The community should thank me. I’ll run for the Legislative Assembly”.

Perhaps the GCC is more effective than the TCC, or the TCC isn’t doing anything that I’ve noticed, or I’m just ignorant – but as a Tuggeranong resident, I haven’t seen much of an impact from our own ‘community council’ other than the odd photo on the front page of The Chronicle.

It is also good to hvae these organisations in existence, so that if a decision is made which has severe impacts on your suburb or area there is already an infrastructure for informing people and galvanising action.

Oh well. Power to you.

Gungahlin Al5:37 pm 15 Oct 07

Happy to oblige you Cameron.
To add to Sepi’s observation on NCC’s A10 rezoning effort, I’d add just a few:

* BCC’s reining in of the Waterpoint tower on Emu Bank from the developer’s desired 22 storeys to the zoned 18.
* David Mendelson of Woden CC’s lobbying for CC representation on Minister Barr’s Reference Panel on the draft Territory Plan. Miles Boak of NCC and I have now spent some 6 weeks working with 6 industry reps on this panel compiling literally hundreds of recommendations to the Independent Assessor and the Minister.
* Two key recommendations from our submission to the ACTION Inquiry (a subdepot and CNG refuelling station at Mitchell and a park-n-ride at EPIC and several other recommendations reflected other points we made such as the need for a bus service down Majura Rd) were among the recommendations of the Inquiry to the government.
* The Gungahlin town centre park was substantially redesigned by LDA following our lobbying.
* The Chief Minister advised us last week that – following representations from us – land for a childcare centre located near the new Harrison School would be put on the market in March and for a service station on Flemington Road will follow further along.
* We are currently negotiating for the CM to fund a sustainable solution for the daily traffic mess outside Burgmann School – read more on http://www.gcc.asn.au
* We have influenced the master plan of the College and recreation precinct in the town centre.

There are stacks more examples, and I’m sure plenty from the other active CCs, but I don’t have the history on them.

But Barney I make no apologies for doing everything I can to get the issues Gungahlin faces on the agenda, and hopefully get some solutions.
We don’t stack meetings. We put notices in our newsletter, which now goes out to 14,000 households, and notices on our website, which doesn’t come close to RA but has a growing audience (2,064 unique visitors in September – double two months ago) and many of them link to us via RA.

We’ve had a string of good guests at meetings this year, helping get our concerns to the people who make the decisions – Hargreaves and the LDA heads in April (with 60 people attending), ACTION Head Tom Elliott, Jon Stanhope, Andrew Barr coming in December.

CC reps meet with Neil Savery, Jacqui Lavis and others in ACTPLA, plus industry reps, every couple of months via the Planning and Development Forum. GCC reps now have quarterly meetings with Andrew Barr and senior staff.

The formalised CC structure that ACT has, coupled with the single level of government, gives your community unequalled access to government and input into decision making.
Sammy’s right – access is there. It is up to the people in each community to utilise the situation and get involved with their CC or whatever other method you choose, and reap the rewards of helping change the community you live in.

Colossal consumer of my time? Definitely. Waste? Not even slightly…

el ......VNBerlinaV82:09 pm 14 Oct 07

Yeah. Colossal waste of time pretty much sums it up.

If they had some you know, actual power, I’m sure people would be willing to put time into these things.

The representatives from the northside community council (or similar named organisation) kicked into action when 85% of Downer was zoned for unit development a few years ago and got he decision overturned.

It is good to have some people willing to put time into these things.

Community Councils usually have no more than a dozen people in attendance, jhalf of them from teh committee.

Councils are for people who like to hear there own voice and puff-up their chests. Or they are a feader for the local elections. They usually achieve SFA because the local politicians know that they have little lobbying power (ie hardly any members).

I should add that the above rant is based on nothing but my anecdotal opinion of community councils. If they have in fact achieved anything of substance, I’d be delighted (and incredibly surprised) to hear it.

Seems to me that the community councils are a colossal waste of time… I would support regional representation if it actually meant anything. The present electoral seats for the LA mean stuff all as there is no direct accountability to a particular region for any particular MLA.

In any case, sounds great that the CM met with a bunch of unempowered, unelected, supposed ‘representatives’ of the Gungahlin community. Here’s hoping he affords the other ‘councils’ similar visits so he can pay some more lip service to the ‘community’.

Jonathon Reynolds seems to be wanting to be some sort of “Fly on the wall – camera jockey”. All these recent videos on YouTube…

Can’t say that I have anything against that. I spose. People need to have a say.

The “Gungahlin Community Council” – far out, not more Gungahlin shit on here. Can we please have a rest from you people. I’m so sick of Gungahlin.

But yes, more people should attent these meetings. But please do not do an “attendance-stacking” then put it on youtube.

Gungahlin Al should never run for parliament.

Stanhope = Knobhead

Having just finished listening to Chief Minister talkback on 666, i’ve never been of the opinion that Canberrans don’t have access to their Chief Minister.

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