WCCC – Submission on the 2015/16 Budget

The following is the Weston Creek Community Council’s submission on the forthcoming ACT Government buget.

“Thank you for the opportunity for the Weston Creek Community Council to respond to the 2015/16 Budget consultation process for the ACT Government.

Council notes that the Budget consultation paper. The 2015-16 Budget Consultation is an opportunity to provide views in the development of the Territory’s revenue and expenditure priorities, rather than a process designed for organisations to request funding assistance. 

To us in the Weston Creek community, we seem to forever just dust off our previous Submissions from over the years to make the same requests.  Occasionally, very occasionally, small things are provided to this community for which we are grateful. Our major concern is that which the Weston Creek Community needs, and has needed for years, will be provided to the new Molonglo Community and once more the people of Weston Creek will miss out.

Once more I will comment on matters requiring funding for this Community before going on to offer comments in line with that requested.

  1. Weston Creek needs a new Community Centre.  As I said last year and the year before…The current one is aging and dated and does not cater well for the current population.  A new Centre is long overdue and should be along the lines of the Centre being considered for Woden which includes Community Services [ours is Communities at Work], an area for Seniors to interact and utilise the centre with a new form of library essentials. Council is aware that the long saga of the Weston Group Centre Master Plan may have the answer but given the shortage of satisfactory services in Weston Creek for years now, Council believes that there is an urgent need to fund a new Centre for this forgotten part of Canberra.
  2. Health Hub.  The need to respond to an ageing but also young community.  An agglomeration of all the health services in one location with its own parking, and probably based on operating 24/7.
    It should include a public health medical walk-in centre of some kind, backed up by rooms set aside for GPs and specialists (including diagnostic and pathology services not yet located in Weston Creek – or Molonglo); a 24-hour pharmacy and physio-therapy services as a minimum.
  3. Fetherston Gardens.  The gardens are now open to the Public and much work has been accomplished between the parks and garden staff and the Friends of Fetherston Gardens.  However, to make the Gardens fully functional there is a need for Public Toilets and a small building to house the equipment that the Friends of Fetherston Gardens use to maintain the Gardens.  An area in this building for displays and to give talks to groups who visit the Gardens would complete this Canberra community asset.
  4. Action on the Draft Master Plan for Weston Group Centre.  Council would like some concrete commitments from the draft Master Plan for the Weston Group Centre even if the Final is not decided on by Budget time.  The “beautifying” of Brierley Street and Trenerry Court would indicate that there is commitment by the ACT Government to the Weston Creek Community.
  5. Movement on a second Petrol Station for Weston Creek/Molonglo. It has been sometime since the announcement of the location of a second petrol station for Weston Creek/Molonglo and Council would prefer this to be moved quickly so that the growing demand at the Weston Petrol Station would be eased.

Broader Issues:

  1. The underfunding of TAMS. Canberra, as a garden city, is in decline and will continue to be so unless the landscape and, indeed, the TAMS Budget is increased.  Council believes that there are significant cost pressures facing Parks and City Services in its service delivery. One of the driving issues, we believe, is that the mix of “State” and Local Government functions become competitors for funding in the ACT.  However, council is still of the view that insufficient funding is passed to TAMS to undertake its functions.
  2. Waste Disposal Pick-up. Council believes that considerable savings could be made with a twice a year pick-up of unwanted goods as happens in many councils across Australia.  The cost of providing Ranger Services for monitoring Charity Bins and other high risk dump areas for unwanted goods is expensive as is the cost to Charities for moving these unwanted goods to the tip.  Reducing these costs by providing a twice a year pick-up would likely reduce the cost and the amount of unwanted waste.  If nothing else a trial for 12 months in a District would provide a good test of what may happen under this type of system.
  3. Transport.  Council has made public its views on the bus service for Weston Creek and Molonglo.  Clearly, while ever the bus service goes via Woden patronage will be low and this is more likely to be lower for Molonglo where not only will passengers travel via Woden but also via Weston Creek.  Transport solutions need to be thought “outside the box” to create ways for people to utilise them, not just a mantra of walk, cycle or bus which less than 20% of the working population in Weston Creek use.   
  4. Parking.  While ever 83% of the population use their car to travel to work Government needs to consider placing high rise car parks on the City boundaries to provide for these workers.  This is more necessary now with the concentration of workers in the City.
  5. Light Rail.  Council has great concerns over the proposed light rail between Gungahlin and the City.  It does not favour this form of transport.  There are other forms which will provide the same travel time, for Gungahlin residents, at far less cost yet all of the ACT Ratepayers will be paying for this for years to come.  Council awaits the Cost Benefit study release. Council will also point out that Molonglo will be similar to Gungahlin in the future with no Government employment planned there it will become a similar dormitory District with people travelling out each day for work.
  6. The Inner North Concentration.  It would seem to us on the southside of Canberra that there has been a very heavy concentration by Government on the City and Inner north.  There is
    • the City to the Lake project with all that this entails,
    • the beautification of Constitution Avenue into the “Champs Elysees” of Canberra,
    • a new Football Stadium in the City,
    • Concentration of ACT Government Public Servants in the City,
    • Redevelopment of Northbourne Avenue, and
    • The light rail project
  7. Loss of Green Space and Sporting facilities.  Council is concerned with the loss of green space within Canberra.  Slowly like a sponge soaks things up, green space in the suburbs is being eaten up for development.  We are also seeing sporting complexes being closed and sold for re-development.  Examples are Bowling Clubs and Golf courses, local parks and closed down schools and their ovals.

Thank you for the opportunity to input into the process.”

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