A POTENTIAL dust storm and unsettled weather conditions forecast over the next two days could exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions in people with asthma. Vanessa Johnston, ACT public health physician, said dust storms can significantly reduce […]
LABOR and the Greens have again signed up for another Parliamentary Agreement to secure Andrew Barr’s minority Labor government for the next four years.
Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury has again accepted a ministerial role.
Interestingly, the agreement is between Barr and the two Greens MLA, Rattenbury and re-elected Caroline Le Coutier.
In it they pledge to provide the 9th Legislative Assembly with stable and effective government and the Greens will:
1. Support Barr as Chief Minister
2. Guarantee support for the passage of Appropriation Bills for the ordinary annual services of Government
3. Not move any motions of no confidence, or support any other party’s no-confidence motions, except in instances of proven corruption, gross negligence, or significant non-adherence to this agreement or the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
The two parties have agreed to:
1. Action to improve Canberrans’ health and access to healthcare
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens agree to continue to focus on giving patients the best care, and deliver services when and where they need them, so that Canberra remains Australia’s healthiest community.
To achieve this goal, the parties agree to:
1. Design, construct and commence the operation of three nurse-led walk-in centres in Gungahlin, Weston Creek and the Inner North, based on the successful model currently operating in Belconnen and Tuggeranong; and assess the benefits of extending the centres’ hours of operation;
2. Establish the Office for Mental Health to roll out and oversee mental health services and provider funding, develop a strategy that sets targets for suicide reduction, and provide more support for young people;
3. Reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other preventable health conditions, by expanding and refocussing the Healthy Weight Initiative, appointing a Preventative Health Coordinator and developing a comprehensive preventative health strategy;
4. Improve dental treatment for those who can’t easily access it by operating two additional mobile dental clinics, and implement subsidy and opening hour policies to increase care for low income Canberrans;
5. Provide better healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by building a new health clinic for Winnunga Nimityjah Aboriginal Health Service;
6. Increase frontline nursing staff to provide better healthcare services in hospitals and the community, by expanding Hospital in the Home, providing more outpatient nurses, reviewing current ACT Health outpatient and community based services, and implementing incentives to raise nurse qualifications and career development opportunities; and
7. Develop a Nurse Safety Strategy through forums with stakeholders, focussing on high risk areas.
2. Supporting our schools and higher education
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens:
1. Will continue to strongly advocate for the Commonwealth Government to honour the original six year Gonski funding agreement, in full, because the Gonski model of needs-based schools funding is the best chance for every Canberra child, attending a public, independent or Catholic school, to reach their full potential;
2. Recognise that the Canberra Institute of Technology should remain the primary provider of high-quality vocational training in the ACT, and commit to maintain the CIT under public ownership. The Government will continue to directly fund CIT to a minimum of 70% of total ACT Government funding for VET;
3. Agree that the Government will employ an additional 20 school psychologists over the term to strengthen mental health and wellbeing support in our schools, strengthen community based counselling services for children and young people, and implement a streamlined referral process that can be utilised by all schools;
4. Continue social and emotional learning programs in schools to enhance the skills of children and young people to engage in respectful relationships, including to prevent violence and sexual assault;
5. Employ an additional four senior teachers with expertise in pedagogy, learning difficulties, and literacy and numeracy programming, to implement a coaching and mentoring model to build teaching capacity; and conduct a trial of innovative teaching methods; and
6. Implement measures to improve road safety around schools, including the development of individual traffic management plans for every school.
3. Building an integrated transport network
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens recognise that Canberrans support an integrated transport network comprising buses, light rail, roads, rideshare, taxis, cycling and walking. To achieve this strong network, the parties agree to:
1. Immediately commence community consultation, scoping and design work of Stage 2 of the light rail network, to progress the Woden Stage 2 extension to the procurement stage and contract signing in this term;
2. Encourage bus patronage by implementing free bus travel for seniors and concession card holders (excluding students) on all routes, and two months’ free bus travel on new Rapid routes for all travellers;
3. Expand the reach and accessibility of the flexible bus service to the Inner North;
4. Implement new ACTION Rapid routes to provide better services through town centres and major destinations, as announced by Government prior to the election period and funded in the pre-election update;
5. Develop an ACTION fleet management strategy, with new and replacement buses to be purchased following evaluation of the sustainable fuels bus trial, prioritising green technologies such as hybrid and electric, and considering criteria including value for money and operational cost, environmental performance, energy efficiency and sourcing, and disability accessibility compliance;
6. Conduct a strategic assessment of innovative transport options for Canberra, including autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle trials and better utilisation and connection of taxis and buses in off-peak periods;
7. Raise the profile of the Active Travel Office, and through the Office coordinate the rollout of $30 million in additional priority footpath maintenance, cycling and walking route upgrades, and age-friendly suburb improvements in our shopping centres and existing suburbs;
8. Adopt the World Health Organisation’s HEAT model for Budget assessment of active travel projects; and
9. Facilitate the establishment of bike hubs by the private sector (such as those operating in Brisbane).
4. Improving social housing and housing affordability
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens agree that that improving housing affordability is essential to ensuring secure accommodation is available to all Canberrans, and home ownership remains a realistic goal. To meet these aspirations, the parties agree to:
1. Continue the five year program of public housing renewal;
2. Develop a new Affordable Housing Strategy to deliver more affordable housing options;
3. Continue to cut stamp duty in every ACT Budget;
4. Create an innovation fund to support new approaches to affordable housing, starting with support to establish HomeGround Real Estate, Homeshare for older Canberrans, and the Nightingale Housing Model in Canberra;
5. Maintain a role for public sector land development with a board that includes independent members with skills from the social and affordable housing sector;
6. Set affordable housing targets across greenfield and urban renewal development projects, with structures to prevent resale windfall profits;
7. Work with community and business partners to construct purpose built accommodation for people experiencing mental health concerns and housing difficulties, utilising the ‘MyHome for Canberra’ project plan;
8. Grow and diversify the not for profit community housing sector, through a combination of capital investment, land transfer and other means;
9. Strengthen specialist homelessness and housing support services to make sure vulnerable groups (eg. older women, indigenous communities and women escaping violence) get the support they need; support people seeking housing who have a lived experience of trauma; fund professional development and training for the Specialist Housing and Homeless Service Providers; and support Uniting City Early Morning Centre provision of essential services;
10. Convene a homelessness summit in 2017 bringing together all key stakeholders to develop innovative proposals to combat homelessness; and
11. Expand after hours and weekend intake referrals to homelessness services utilising the existing ‘OneLink’ service for a one year pilot program, and evaluate for continuation.
5. Better planning processes, consultation and outcomes
1. Establish an Assembly Committee Inquiry into planning, to recommend amendments to the Territory Plan, ways to improve the planning process, consultation requirements, design and sustainability outcomes, energy performance, and range of housing options;
2. Strengthen community consultation processes, including through the use of deliberative democracy strategies, so that diverse views are taken into account in major project proposals;
3. Conduct a review of the effectiveness of the Energy Efficiency Ratings Scheme;
4. Actively progress discussions with the NSW Government and Yass Valley Council regarding moving the ACT/NSW border in West Belconnen;
5. Encourage Universal Housing initiatives by:
a. Holding a roundtable to develop incentives that will encourage construction of new homes and apartments that meet the Liveable Housing Design Silver and Gold Levels;
b. Developing training programs for architects and builders;
c. Showcasing Universal Housing in demonstration housing projects; and
d. Playing an active role at COAG to push for genuine progress on the 2010 COAG agreement (in the National Disability Strategy), for new housing to meet Universal Design Standards; and
6. Establish a panel of independent auditors to conduct mandatory annual audits of building certifiers through a self-funding model.
6. Protecting the environment and mitigating climate change
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens reconfirm their genuine commitment to protecting the local environment, and doing everything we can as a community and city to combat human-induced climate change. To meet these goals, the parties agree to:
1. Continue all necessary policy and contractual steps to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2020;
2. Sign the ‘Under 2 MOU’ and set firm interim targets to reach zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest;
3. Fund the ACT Environmental Defenders Office for at least two years from November 2016, while working with the EDO to develop sustainable wider revenue streams;
4. Establish a container deposit scheme and install 100 recycling bins around the city, to increase recycling rates and improve the amenity and health of our waterways and parklands;
5. Roll out micro parks in urban areas and establish an ‘adopt a park’ scheme to increase amenity and usage of local open spaces, and work with the community and private sector to reduce the heat island effect in urban areas, expand the urban and street shade canopy, and replace ageing trees;
6. Conduct an assessment of a Sustainable Bonds scheme to fund sustainable infrastructure;
7. Undertake a regulatory impact statement into setting minimum EER standards for rental properties by the end of 2017, with a view to implementing measures to improve energy efficiency of rental properties;
8. Develop a four year program to deliver weed and pest animal control;
9. Undertake a feasibility study into establishing a new northern Canberra region National Park, including existing nature reserves around Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie and Mulligans Flat; and
10. Implement the key findings of the Waste Feasibility Study so that ACT waste management is national best practice.
7. Making our community even stronger and more inclusive
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens understand that government has an active and positive role to play in making sure everyone in our community is supported, welcomed, and has the opportunity to reach their full potential. The parties therefore agree to:
1. Develop a carers strategy in close consultation with Carers ACT, disability groups and other affected community members;
2. Create a new policy unit to monitor and support the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, oversee grants to improve the ability of people with disabilities to participate in mainstream community groups, better support parents of children with disabilities; and a resourced Disability Reference Group to include people with disabilities and to address access issues for transport and new developments;
3. Establish an ongoing Multicultural Advisory Board to assist with the implementation of the ACT Multicultural Framework; and convene a multicultural summit;
4. Conduct a program to increase community access to government facilities, such as school halls;
5. Establish a Drug and Alcohol Court and associated support programs as part of a goal to reduce recidivism by 25% by 2025, continue existing funding of justice reinvestment programs and assess the need for any additional funding as part of the budget process;
6. Introduce an ACT Rights of Victims Charter; and
7. Continue existing funding for community legal services and assess the need for any additional funding as part of the Budget process.
8. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
ACT Labor and the ACT Greens are committed to supporting Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and the parties will continue to work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and Indigenous organisations to ensure we deliver the best possible outcomes. This commitment includes:
1. Continuing funding support for dedicated culture and language programs in schools and after-school programs; and
2. Ensuring cultural connections are considered in planning and heritage assessments.
9. Reducing harm from gaming
1. Reduce the number of electronic gaming machine licenses in the ACT to 4000 by 1 July 2020;
2. Explore further harm reduction measures, including mandatory pre‑commitment systems and bet limits for electronic gaming machines;
3. Increase the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund levy from 0.6% of gross gaming machine revenue to 0.75%, and direct additional funds into addressing problem gambling; and
4. Review the current community contribution scheme, with a view to maximising the direct benefit to the community from the scheme.
10. Strengthening government, parliamentary and electoral integrity
Canberrans are entitled to have confidence that their government is working in their best interests at all times. ACT Labor and the ACT Greens agree to implement a package of reforms that will build on measures previously implemented to improve probity, integrity and accountability in decision-making in the Territory:
1. Establish an Independent Integrity Commission, broadly structured on those operating in similarly sized jurisdictions, following a Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the most effective and efficient model for the ACT;
2. Effective immediately, neither party will accept donations from property developers, and the Government will bring to the Assembly a legislative ban on all such donations based on bans operating in other jurisdictions;
3. Establish a Select Committee to review the operation of the 2016 ACT election and Electoral Act, and make recommendations on lowering the voting age, improving donation rules and reporting timeframes, and encouraging more people to enrol, vote and participate more widely in political activity;
4. Through the Assembly process, expand the scope of the lobbyist register to capture in-house government relations staff, industry associations, and project management liaison officers and companies, and conduct a review of its effectiveness after one year; and
5. Strengthen the Commissioner for Standards’ role by streamlining the referrals process for complaints against MLAs.
11. Emergency services and law reform
1. Progress jointly-committed investment in fire-fighting equipment, personnel and facilities, and establish a rigorous ongoing consultation process, including through a roundtable meeting, to discuss wider resourcing, structural and organisational reform, and increasing diversity in the fire-fighting service;
2. Undertake legislative reforms to expand the definition of domestic violence in the Crimes Act to include emotional and social violence; and implement any outstanding ALRC recommendations on sexual assault;
3. Establish an ACT medicinal cannabis program in 2017, to allow sick and dying people timely and efficient access to medicinal cannabis products, on prescription; and establish appropriate regulations, administration and education and training to ensure the programme is effective; and
4. Bring forward a submission for Cabinet consideration to enact a ‘right to appeal’ law.
12. Public Infrastructure
Social, city and economic infrastructure is essential to keep Canberra liveable and productive, and to strengthen its reputation as a leading international artistic and sporting city. ACT Labor and the ACT Greens agree to progress major infrastructure projects:
1. Complete Stage 1 of Light Rail from Gungahlin to the City;
2. Construct Stage 2 of the Belconnen Arts Centre, to allow a wider range of use by community, artistic and performance groups;
3. Progress feasibility and business case development work on the Australia Forum convention centre and a new Canberra Theatre; and
4. Undertake feasibility studies into the construction of two multi-purpose indoor sports centres in Woden and Gungahlin.
13. Animal welfare
1. End the ACT Government subsidy to the ACT greyhound racing industry at the conclusion of the current MOU, and actively support the transition steps required to end the operation of the greyhound racing industry, including animal welfare and training support; and
2. Expand and ensure the effectiveness of cat containment, and increase funding for cat de-sexing.