The ACT’s Greenslabor government is locked into practices of questionable governance and decision making and has lost the inability to engage honestly and effectively with resident groups.
The ACT’s Greenslabor government is locked into practices of questionable governance and decision making and has lost the inability to engage honestly and effectively with resident groups.
ACT Labor Greens coalition government not trusted
Back in 2012 when the debate about the tram kicked off, there were several people who influenced thoughts on whether the city should have a tram. The first were Walter and Marion Griffin, the second was Katy Gallagher and the third was Zed Seselja.
Developer lobbyists and their government friends do a great job of getting the media to promote a false narrative about the motivations of residents who care for their suburbs.
Media and opinion writers when criticising the government of the day, traditionally keep the focus on the politicians and not their bureaucrats. Then there was Robodebt.
The Illusory Truth Effect is a tactic often used by spin doctors to assist politicians get away with being dishonest.
Recently I was sent a real estate advertisement for a rooftop unit on Northbourne Avenue Canberra.
First a little history: Having not called by Gundagai for many years, in 2015 we called in to check out the well-known Niagara Café. It was a disappointment.
Planning was a hot topic for the 2016 ACT elections with some hoping that it could be the issue to push the Greenslabor cohort out of government.
Before you wonder what the image above is about – it is a digitally altered photograph of the National Gallery of Australia here in Canberra. I’ll explain later in this piece.
Many decades ago when talking to a staff member of the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) in their 220 Northbourne office about urban and social matters, I was distracted by the view south from the 9th floor office window.
Back in 1982, when the construction of the National Gallery’s building was completed and had been handed over to become operational as a gallery, there was an open day for people to see what there was to see – that being lots of empty spaces.
There’s a relatively new driveway off Angas Street Ainslie on the side of the Ainslie Football Club. It goes nowhere – it serves no known purpose.
To more or less quote an art school lecturer, it is great to live in Canberra and to visit the National Gallery to see old friends.
There is a common theme to the many well-crafted and informed submissions by residents trying desperately to influence the proposals to change the city’s planning.
There are many comments circulating about the 400 submissions received by the planning directorate on what the community thinks of the ACT Government’s attempt to reform planning.
Reading through submissions for one of the many inquiries conducted by this ACT government, there was one submitted by the Rebecca Vassarotti as Heritage Minister.
The ACT Greenslabor government has perfected its expertise to distract people from what they are really up to when they release one of their contentious planning documents.
Hoping that Barr’s 50th birthday will encourage him to change
Andrew Barr has been the ACT chief minister for about nine years.
On Thursday 30th March Jo Clay MLA stood up in the assembly on behalf of the ACT Greens and moved a motion about the chief minister’s planning reforms.
The Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) meeting on Tuesday 11th April was reported to have been a lively event with a couple of Greenslabor politicians providing their take on the ACT chief minister’s so-called planning reforms.
The Braddon Bowling Club story is one of many about how this government and its bureaucracy has corrupted its own governance – how they do stuff badly.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 28th March, Canberra Liberal Peter Cain rose to his feet in the legislative assembly to deliver a brief speech about an aspect of the chief minister’s planning reforms.
Community groups who have studied the Greenslabor planning reform plans and strategies know that the chief minister’s deregulation reforms will devastate the suburban characteristics that attract people to this city.
Gentleman’s patronising praise
The planning minister’s 22 March media release on the feedback received on the planning reforms was a real gem.
There is huge gap in values between those of the residents of this city and those of the ACT’s planning authority. Canberra’s community groups have been writing submissions about their aspirations and urban priorities for more than a decade.
The Minister for Canberra Planning has reassured residents that the minister has read the hundreds of submissions that hard working Canberra residents have submitted about the so-called planning reforms.
In 2011 the Dickson Residents Group asked the then planning minister, Andrew Barr, to consider a comprehensive eight-point plan for this inner north precinct.
Recent opinion pieces highlighted the ACT government’s badly managed planning authority and how they continually ignore their own rules and then object when they are overruled by the appeals tribunal.
Unfortunately for the city’s future, the ACT Chief Planner is not known for taking biodiversity seriously. Others do, although their efforts may be a little too polite to make any impact on this Greenslabor government.
Given the latest line-up of Housing ACT development applications for sites in Griffith that were thrown out by the appeals tribunal, the question is who has taken responsibility for these defective proposals for social housing.
When the ACT chief planner was appointed in April 2017, he explained his theoretical approach to planning. In April 2019 I used those statements to set out ten performance indicators and then scored how he was doing.
There has been a load of rubbish spread around about what happens when residents challenge decisions by the ACT Chief Planner.
Given their historical policy positions, the ACT Greenslabor coalition government would have been expected to have had a high priority on social housing and homelessness programs. But then there was the tram.
With the formal consultations now closed on the ACT government’s planning reforms, many in Canberra’s community groups would be wondering about the motivations of the planning bureaucracy.
In the last twelve months, many in community councils have had to spend too much time reading through fairly dense planning reform documents.
While the majority of people in this city indicate their preferences for stand-alone houses and possibly town houses, there are those who wish to retire into apartments and others who because of their economic circumstances have no option than to purchase (for now) whatever unit they can afford. Continue reading Time to rethink tower cramming
Dealing with the complexities of Greenslabor planning reforms has been an unpleasant experience for those reading the badly written documents that were drip-fed to the public last year. There is nothing positive about what is being proposed. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor have truth and transparency as options
It may be a little out of fashion with the ACT Greenslabor ministers, but residents like to be listened to about what happens to their home, their street and their neighbourhood.
The signs are that for 2023 Greenslabor politicians and their hangers-on will continue to gaslight and dump on those who cherishes the city’s neighbourhoods. The new normal for Greenslabor is to be vexatious and frivolous with the truth.
It would a reasonable assumption that many readers of this column would have read about and possibly bought Nicki Savva’s book on the former prime minister, Bulldozed.
Under the Greenslabor regulatory systems for the last decade, residents have endured a laissez-faire approach to building compliance and regulation.
NCA questionable contracts and the future of the National Library Lombardy Pines
The National Capital Authority (NCA) has important national functions to do with stuff about administration, the national plan, the government of the day and the care of national assets.
This being the latter part of summer, families and children should have had loads of fun at the lakeside facilities around Lake Tuggeranong. Not so – the waters remain off limits due to nasty green blobs floating about and poisonous algae in the water.
When in August last year the ACT Heritage Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, stood aside the members of the ACT Heritage Council, the problems she outlined to justify her actions did not come as a surprise to those in the know about the recent history of this ministerially appointed body.
Viewing John Glover (the two in centre) at the AGNSW
For this piece I wander from talking about a new book on John Glover to viewing works on the wall at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), to meandering through the AGNSW’s new building (Sydney Modern) and finally to the wonderful experience of visiting the AGNSW’s new art library. Continue reading New art, old art and a new book on John Glover
Things are serious when the senior ACT Government planning bureaucrat uses interviews with selected local media to send a message to local politicians.
The Canberra Liberals have made headlines about going into the 2024 ACT elections not supporting the tram to Woden.
In the weeks before Christmas, when people were trying to think positive about life, the universe and everything else, the ACT Government and developers rolled out multiple gifts of development applications and planning reform documents for people to read. These gifts were not fun stuff. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor policy frauds
Someone in the ACT planning Directorate thought it was a great idea to get their planning minister to launch yet another round of consultations on the future of Civic and the surrounding areas – on the 4th December last year.
When federal elections roll around, locals hear often from those who wish to be the elected federal members of the House of Representatives (3 from the ACT) and the Senate (2 senators).
On Saturday 5th November 2022 I wrote an online piece for Canberra City News that received positive feedback from readers as well as directly from friends.
Hopefully members of our community groups are not reading planning documents but instead are checking on the tomatoes, spending time with friends, or watching the magpies forage through the neighbourhood.
Seems every year the subject of the city’s trees comes around as a Christmas topic. Continue reading Trees and Christmas in Canberra
It was shocking to see the style of the official criticisms of Ainslie residents who had objected to the redevelopment of the community site on the corner block next to Bill Pye Park in Ainslie.
Liberals’ outrage about development options involving ACT Racing
There was almost instant outrage on 1st November when the ACT planning chief and his planning minister released documents on the next stages of the ACT Government’s proposed planning reforms.
The ACT Government’s planning reform stuff has been rolling along for a couple of years. Continue reading ACT govt planners proposes changes to suit ACT govt planners
Thursday, October 27 was the day that ACT Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry officially opened the grand, designed playground in Coombs. Continue reading Muddle-headed ACT Government stuffs up playground
A case studies of how an elected ACT Government has lost track of reality.
Looking at the creative political sign in front of the Kingston Glass Workshop in October (now removed), the message was clear.
Developers love putting up their signs of things to come that will make life better for future residents.
Many in the community spend an extraordinary amount of time and energy responding to the flow of developers’ consultations on proposed developments.
The most obvious stuff up about the release of the November 1 media release on the Planning Reforms is that what is being proposed does not recognise that planning and development are the most basic keys that the ACT government should be using to deal with urban climate issues.
With the release of the October 31 “Investment Plan” by Homelessness Minister Rebecca Vassarotti, there was a glimmer of hope that after more than a decade of the Greenslabor government, that someone was serious about homelessness. Continue reading ACT Government fail on homelessness
Murky and tricky would be the polite words to describe what happened with the ACT Greens’ motion in the Legislative Assembly to phase out funding for the Canberra Racing Club – $41 million over five years. Continue reading ACT Greens and ACT Racing
Unsettling thoughts should not enter your head when you are admiring a beautiful garden. This happened recently.
I have written before that what ACT government politicians value is reflected in how they spend our money.
Inner north Canberra community members have been swamped with major development proposals that, according to the planning directorate, need to be commented on in a very short timeframe. The Bureau of Meteorology could not have forecast this inundation of paperwork.
A Great photograph can bring about a myriad of memories as well as pose more mundane questions such as why political movements fail.
When looking at the use of public money, I want to focus on two ACT Auditor-General reports one year apart.
The National Library of Australia forecourt should be a well-designed open space welcoming people to a key national institution. It is, sort of – but not quite!
Rebecca Vassarotti, the ACT Sustainable Building and Construction Minister, announced in late August that state and territory ministers had agreed to a national mandatory seven-star rating for new residential buildings, starting next October.
The National Library is staging an exhibition of 125 documentary photographs, “Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now”. Continue reading photography at the National Library of Australia
Three presentations at the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s (ISCCC) September meeting made it very clear how this ACT Greenslabor government is not aligned with the aspirations and values of the residents of this city. Continue reading ACT Government burns taxpayers money
The term “neighbourhood character” was used in official planning documents and this measure was treated seriously when parts of established suburbs were up for redevelopment. Continue reading Caring for Neighbourhood Character
Resident’s groups have become reluctant to respond to ABC Canberra’s call for comment on the development decisions such as those for the Ainslie Group (Ainslie Football Club).
A visit to an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia provided the extra opportunity to have a look at the new garden at the entrance and to check out again the Garden of Australian Dreams.
When a politician says something such as: “Recreational areas in a suburb create a vital meeting point for the community”, then people should celebrate having such a person in government. Continue reading Canberra greens spaces used a land banks
Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now
National Library of Australia exhibition, Friday 16 September 2022 until Monday 13 March 2023 Entry is free, curated by Matthew Jones
a link to the NLA page on the exhibition – click here
a tour of the exhibition click here
With the August 30 announcement by the chief minister that the building of a new sports stadium in Civic is not feasible, what followed was the media-generated screams about this backflip – let down – bad decision. Continue reading What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?
The decline of architectural design solutions and the loss of political will to deliver good urban design in Canberra was clearly illustrated through the presentation to the North Canberra Community Council committee.
Residents had good reasons to be puzzled by the 16th August decision by the ACT Greenslabor Planning Minister to use his precious ‘call-in’ powers to refuse a development at the McKellar shops. The reasons given caused readers to wonder – did he really say that?
Residents shudder when they contemplate how much of their lives has had to be allocated to dealing with development applications that, according to the government’s own rules, should not have been approved.
In my spare time , I have put together a collection of early 20th century photographs from Japan – click here to see the collection (for sale)
More than three decades ago the local visual arts community advocated for the establishment of a Canberra Regional/City Gallery. Continue reading visiting Canberra’s City Gallery
Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents
The ACT Greenslabor government regularly makes re-announcements about commitments to sometime soon provide homes that are sustainable. Continue reading Housing ACT as the rogue developer
When the national Gallery opened in 1988, the exhibitions and their café became frequent destinations – a meeting place for locals, to take in the latest exhibitions while seeing old friends – the fabulous works in the permanent collections. Continue reading Visiting the National Gallery in Canberra
There were several announcements by the ACT government at the end of July with most by the chief minister, Andrew Barr.
As a consequence of the Greenslabor Ministers Vassarotti and Berry’s cruel eviction program, attention turned to their social housing programs. Continue reading The vexed question of social housing in Canberra
Saturday 30 July was a sunny day that encouraged a walk somewhere else in the city, besides the usual meander through the local streets.
Back in 2019 during a discussion about the preliminaries for the city’s coming planning reforms, it was suggested to the chief planner that governance needs to be central to any reforms. Continue reading ACT Government fails governance
The ACT’s government planning system is under review with the first badly organised and inadequate consultation stage completed in mid-June.
There were few people visiting the NGA’s Sculpture Garden when I visited to enjoy the garden’s well-designed spaces and to check out the artworks.
There’s a residential development at 18 Darke Street, Torrens, that is beyond belief. This is happening because the city’s planning system is broken and totally corrupted.
In February, 2012, the then-ACT Labor Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Simon Corbell, officially opened the Dickson Wetlands (completed in 2011). This marvellous water feature changed the neighbourhood.
More than a decade ago the ACT Greens had priority on issues such as climate, the environment, and equity. How things have changed.
Earlier this year 330 Housing ACT tenants received the same soulless unsigned eviction notice.
This was a difficult piece to write for City News.