Page 1492 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question, I think it is clear the only way is up when it comes to infrastructure investment in the ACT. It is a pretty low base on which to build, given what the previous federal government was up to—or, in fact, not up to—when it came to investment in the ACT.

So the election of a new federal government is an opportunity to work more productively and collaboratively with the federal government. I have, again, made no secret of the fact that we will be seeking a larger and fairer share of commonwealth infrastructure investment. I have already written to the Prime Minister in relation to this and we have been engaging with various portfolio ministers, ahead of their swearing in and indeed, since they have been sworn in. This includes better engagement on the extension of Canberra’s light rail network through the parliamentary triangle, noting, of course, the complexities that come with traversing through commonwealth land under the control of the National Capital Authority.

I think it is important to note that the new government has already committed to funding a range of infrastructure projects in partnership with the territory government, right across the ACT and we look forward to seeing more of this over the next three years.

MS ORR: Chief Minister, how does federal government investment in infrastructure projects support the ACT government's infrastructure planning?

MR BARR: Thank you. Well greater and fairer infrastructure funding puts the ACT government in a better position to forward plan our infrastructure program and to better meet the needs of our growing city. So it is pleasing to see a commitment already to support a range of infrastructure projects across health, education, climate action, sustainable transport and sport and recreation that complement our existing infrastructure program.

We welcome the commitment to invest $15 million in the upgrade of the AIS Arena, a commonwealth owned asset that it is great to see the commonwealth government now taking responsibility for, given the previous coalition government let it run down over 10 years.

The community battery program is a great example of where ACT policy and federal policy will align. The community's batteries part of the federal program will work well with the Big Canberra Battery distributed network and will help increase storage capacity, reduce emissions and lower energy prices in the territory.

The urgent care clinic in Canberra's south, like our nurse led walk in centres, will be an important addition to public health provision in the territory and support better access to quality health care when people need it and where they need it.

The other projects that I have touched on this morning include partnering with the ACT government on the CIT Woden campus, the Gorman House upgrades, the Canberra Garden city cycle route and working with the University of Canberra—how about that, working with a university?—to support a major new sports arena for the university, for the community, and indeed, for some of our elite sporting teams.

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