Page 2095 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2022

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I say again that Woden can be, and should be, the economic heart of the south. But it will take will, persistence and a new vision. It will take smart choices and smart investment. If Woden and the greater south are going to thrive, we need more than apartments, construction, retail and a shrunken CIT. Woden needs more than an overdue hospital reconstruction, it needs more than just apartments and it needs more than a plan for a tram.

To reach its potential, Woden must grow its economic, cultural and recreational footprint. We need entertainment, culture and the arts. We need to overcome the inertia of the haphazard planning and development, which has created siloed precincts with no connection between where people sleep, and where they work and live. It is time for a new vision for Woden.

Madam Speaker, I know that I have gone on somewhat; I promise that I am not aiming for an eight-hour filibuster to interrupt the Chief Minister’s evening! But I do want to reflect on some things that the Chief Minister said in his inaugural address. There are several points that I would like to reflect on, because in that speech the then future Chief Minister said:

Good governments manage the economy responsibly, and that good management leads to benefits for all the community. It is what underpins the delivery of the services that Canberrans want and need.

He continued by pointing out:

Running a surplus operating budget provides intergenerational equity.

The Chief Minister was absolutely correct when he made those statements. Every dollar that the government spends, over and above what we have, is borrowed from our children. Our borrowing now has to be paid back by them, with interest. Yet in the decade or so since he became Treasurer, every budget that the Chief Minister has delivered has sent us backwards.

As an indicator of the regard he now holds for economic management, he removed from the budget papers a small statement which may be easy to miss, and which his predecessors always had in there—a simple statement that said that deficits should always be temporary. The Chief Minister has now committed the ACT to so much debt that it is unclear how the government will continue to operate without taking out more. The interest payments alone have become eye-watering.

As the Chief Minister pointed out, our children will inherit his burden. They will pay the price of Labor’s debt into the future. I believe it is about time someone started delivering for our children instead of taking from them.

I intend to work towards a new vision for Canberra—a Canberra where people’s aspirations are supported by their government, where the individual is valued and heard and community embraced; a city where not everything is done by government, but what is, is done well; a city where we build for the future and care for what we already have; a city where we can choose to work near to where we live and can afford to raise our families in our own homes, in vibrant communities, with a sense of

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