Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle 17.01.12 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, January 17 2012 - 8
Canberra CBD Ltd chief executive Stephen Gregory pictured with a mural created to combat vandalism in the city.
Picture: Elesa Lee
City vandalism continues
GRAFFITI has returned with a ven-
geance to the city since the end of night
Six months into his role, Canberra
CBD Ltd chief executive Stephen
Gregory remains engaged in an ongo-
ing battle to banish graffiti from the
The trial with Leader Security,
which included motion sensors, infra-
red cameras and dog patrols, had an
impact, but since its end graffiti has
"It would be naive to say you can get
rid of vandalism completely,'' Mr
''The purpose of the trial was to see
if we focused attention on it what could
Mr Gregory is awaiting the final
security report before making a
decision on what initiatives to
"Perhaps we can work with some of
the senior members of the graffiti
community to try and educate people
about the cost," he said.
"I don't think a lot of the taggers
realise they're not hurting government,
they're hurting mum-and-dad busines-
ses, they're hurting business people.
"It's a destructive force and it turns
Mr Gregory took over the non-profit
organisation in June and has intro-
duced a number of initiatives to
combat a rise in graffiti vandalism.
"We complement the ACT Govern-
ment cleaning effort and $200,000 has
been spent on that alone. We've been
trying to combat the rise in graffiti," he
While The ACT Government re-
moves graffiti from government build-
ings, Canberra CBD Ltd has taken up
the cause to keep private buildings free
Smaller tags are removed by routine
cleaning funded by Canberra CBD
Ltd, but Mr Gregory has been forced to
set aside $20,000 to remove large scale
Mr Gregory expects to budget the
same amount to target vandalism in the
next financial year.
Despite the challenge of illegal
graffiti, Mr Gregory is positive about
the changes that are being made in
Civic including the Skate in the City
and Roller Skate in the City events.
"The purpose of both events is to
assist in making the city a vibrant
place," he said.
"It's quite amazing the way it
transforms the space -- the ice skating
transformed it into a winter wonder-
land and the roller skating is transfor-
ming it into an oasis."
A number of changes in 2012 are
expected to complete the transfor-
mation of Garema Place, including
plans for a new cover for the merry-go-
"One of the things we've also got on
our radar is to create a permanent stage
in Garema Place so that it's a bit like
Time Square," Mr Gregory said.
Since starting at Canberra CBD Ltd
Mr Gregory has also faced criticism
from businesses that the City Walk
area around Garema Place is active,
while the end nearer to Canberra
Casino is drab. He hopes new lighting
on The Canberra Times fountain,
which is about to begin, will help
attract people down to that end of City
"The activation of The Canberra
Times fountain with new lighting is to
start drawing people down," he said.
Canberra CBD Ltd has also been
given approval from a sub-committee
to look into a lighting sculpture piece
in the section of City Walk nearer the
casino. Grass areas will also be
redeveloped after the Multicultural
Festival in the city.
"Our core focus is on revitalising the
city and making it a good place to be,"
Mr Gregory said.
"Over the next six months we're
pretty much completing things."
Australians no longer forgotten
MEMBER FOR FRASER
HUGH MCGOWAN was born to a
single mother in Scotland. Lacking any
support, she gave him up to a boys'
home in Glasgow.
One day the children were asked if
they wanted to go to Australia.
Twelve-year-old Hugh initially agreed,
but then changed his mind and told the
''cottage father'' he didn't want to go.
He still remembers the reply: ''Too
bad, you're going.''
Hugh is one of half a million
Forgotten Australians, who were ra-
ised in institutional homes. I met him
at the National Museum of Australia's
exhibition, Inside: Life in Children's
Homes and Institutions, where he
showed me through the gallery and
told me his story.
Hugh told me that there was a lack
of warmth -- tough physical labour,
corporal punishment, and sometimes
even sexual abuse. And at the harshest
of times, Hugh said, there was never a
father to gently put his arms around
If you don't gasp a few times when
going through the exhibition, you're
not looking hard enough. A video
depicts young children at Bindoon in
Western Australia doing dangerous
jobs like blacksmithing and tiling. A
hand-drawn map of the layout of
Bentleigh Children Home in Victoria
shows red crosses where terrified
children would hide to avoid abuse. An
official sign from another home tells
visitors that they are not to hold the
Institutions were sometimes run by
well-meaning people, but even then
vital parts of childhood could be lost.
Ryszard Szablicki said that some time
after he left the Melbourne orphanage
where he grew up: ''I heard ... people
standing singing around a cake that
had candles stuck in it. I didn't even
know what was going on.''
As another boy said of the institu-
tions, only ''intermittent humanity was
In 2009, former Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd offered a national apology
to the Forgotten Australians. Mr Rudd
admitted, ''whatever I might say
today, the truth is, I cannot give you
back your childhood ... But what I can
do with you is celebrate the spirit that
has lived within you over the
decades.'' He promised that the Aust-
ralian Government would help trace
lost families, provide counselling, and
hold this exhibition at the National
So if you have a spare hour this
summer, head down to the National
Museum of Australia, and help ensure
that the Forgotten Australians become
''the remembered Australians''.
Andrew Leigh is the federal member
for Fraser, and his website is
The National Museum's exhibition
Inside: Life in Children's Homes and
Institutions runs until February 26.
URBAN infill brings with it many
issues for consideration.
One that needs to be kept under
constant review is that increasing
residential density in Canberra means
increased numbers of motor vehicles,
given the significant reliance on pri-
vate vehicles for people movement.
Mitigating this is no mean feat -- it
will take an array of measures to
encourage Canberra residents to
reduce their reliance on privately-
owned motor vehicles.
These include significant improve-
ments to public transport, and,
especially in inner-south Canberra,
improvements to cycle paths, ped-
estrian paths and street lighting.
All of these will lead to more people
-- old and young alike -- having
confidence that alternative means of
moving around are safe, secure, and
reliable. And then make economic and
lifestyle choices to move away from
dependence on motor vehicles.
In the meantime we are faced with
increased urban infill with little or no
attention by development proponents
to fundamental issues such as
adequacy of off-site parking, both for
residents and for their visitors.
A minimalist approach currently
prevails -- certainly at the initial
development application stage.
Residents who are affected by
prospective developments should look
closely at this important element of
Any concerns should be raised as
part of the normal process.
If residents need any support or
assistance, this can be provided by
their local residents group, or through
the Inner South Canberra Community
Details are contained on the website
The ISCCC encourages architects,
town planners and developers to
present their plans to the community at
the earliest possible stage so that issues
such as this can be addressed and
resolved quickly and seamlessly.
Booze bus proves popular
Continued from Page 1
Mr Barclay credited the publicity
surrounding the service for its great
"I think raising the profile made a
big difference this year and many
more people used it than in the
past," he said.
Throughout December there was
signage at the interchange as well as
coasters in the Irish pub advertising
Mr Barclay said Action staff
members also came through the pub
handing out posters and leaflets
advertising the service.
"I wouldn't think there would
have been one person in Civic who
didn't know that that was an option
to get home," he said.
Mr Barclay was a vocal supporter
of the initiative because it brought
more people in to the city to
restaurants, bars, the cinema and
"I think as a community it's a
really nice thing to happen and for
the hospitality industry in particular
it's great," he said.
Over the New Year's Eve week-
end more than 1000 people utilised
the Nightrider service and Mr
Barclay said business was good for
the Civic pub.
"This has been a great New
Year's Eve -- a lot of people came
into the city and enjoyed them-
selves," he said.
"We had the Salvation Army here
collecting on the door and they
raised $10,000, which is just fantas-
tic and that's donations from pa-
"That just shows the generosity of
people and the fact that people are
out having a nice time."
The ACT Government will evalu-
ate the Nightrider service and see if
any modifications are needed before
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