Kim Fischer – Page 3

What women want – when returning to work

This was quite a personal article for me for the RiotACT, as I discuss the challenges of being a woman transitioning from full-time employment to motherhood:

I have found that there is no more personally or professionally challenging period than the switch to becoming a mother. Almost all women I know under 40 entered the workforce with the expectation that they would have a career their whole life … Maternity leave and return to work provisions are critical for ensuring women aren’t left worse off financially. But the disruption to a woman’s professional career path is harder to avoid.

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Play it cool this summer

Heat stress and heat stroke can be deadly if not managed properly on hot days. From my RiotACT article:

A 2014 study found that since 1900, [heat stress and heat stroke] have been responsible for more natural, non-disease related deaths than any other cause, including floods, cyclones, bushfires, and storms combined. Twice as many people died from heat stroke during the period of 2009 Black Saturday fires than from the bushfires themselves.

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Spare a thought for those working this Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time for many families, but it can also be tricky for some:

… spare a thought for those dedicated workers and volunteers who are there for people who need care, and to pick up the pieces when Christmas really doesn’t go to plan for the rest of us. Babies still get born, people still have accidents, our elderly still need care. Whether they are police, paramedics, doctors, or nurses, some people simply don’t get to spend Christmas Day at home.

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Why the CSIRO won’t be subject to Territory planning laws

There appears to be some confusion about the difference between National Land and Territory Land for the purposes of planning laws in the ACT. This is particularly relevant to the potential development of the 701 hectare Ginninderra Field Station site near Crace.

The relevant sections of the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 are:

6  Functions of the Authority

(1)  The functions of the [National Capital Authority] are:

                     (g)  … to manage National Land designated in writing by the Minister as land required for the special purposes of Canberra as the National Capital.

27  National Land

(1)  The Minister may, by notice published in the Commonwealth Gazette declare specified areas of land in the Territory to be National Land.

(2)  The Minister shall not declare an area to be National Land unless the land is, or is intended to be, used by or on behalf of the Commonwealth.

28  Territory Land

At any time when any land in the Territory is not National Land, that land is Territory Land for the purposes of this Act.

29  Administration of Territory Land and the taking of water on National Land

(1)  The [ACT Legislative Assembly] Executive, on behalf of the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  has responsibility for the management of Territory Land; and

                     (b)  subject to section 9 of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910, may grant, dispose of, acquire, hold and administer estates in Territory Land

In short, these sections mean that the ACT government has no planning powers over National Land. The National Capital Authority has full management and planning control. If the CSIRO site is developed while it is National Land, the democratically-elected Assembly has no say in what gets done on this site and when.

I have written further about the consequences of this situation on the Canberra Times and the RiotACT.

Mix it up: Why mixed-use developments are key to Canberra’s future

With the release of the draft Kippax Town Centre Master Plan, I discuss the benefits of mixed-use developments and how they make our town centres more vibrant, safe, and sustainable:

Planners now recognise that mixing residential developments with commercial developments is an important “eyes on the street” solution. By creating public spaces where residents and shop patrons are potentially watching at any time, people feel safer and crime levels drop.

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Time to strengthen ACT Assembly governance over Canberra

The CSIRO is looking to redevelop its 701 hectare Ginninderra Field Station site to hold up to 15,000 homes. Due to a quirk of self-government provisions, as a National Land site it would be the NCA approving this development, not the ACT government. This is undemocratic and needs to be addressed:

There is no justification for the NCA to ever approve developments that aren’t expressly needed for Federal Government purposes. The Act relating to National and Territory Land status in the ACT should be amended to ensure that land must revert to Territory Land status in the event that it is no longer required for Commonwealth purposes.

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The NDIS will transform lives – here’s why

Not everyone understands the positive impact the NDIS will bring to the lives of people with disability. In this week’s RiotACT article I explain the key changes:

Each “individualised support package” allocates an annual amount of funding which is tied to a range of particular support needs of that participant … By having certainty about funding, as well as the freedom to select and change providers, the power relationship between care providers and the client is rightfully inverted.

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What will the next 25 years bring for the ACT Assembly?

In this week’s RiotACT article, I discuss how the ACT Legislative Assembly has evolved and what is in store for its future:

Twenty-five years on from self-government, there are nearly 100,000 extra people living in Canberra. While it is never popular to say that more politicians are needed, the workload of the Assembly has, in fact, increased dramatically. It is not just because we have extra citizens; today there are many more complex agreements with the Commonwealth and other States and Territories to fund and manage health, education, national security, and social services programs.

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