Page 2251 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
requires a motion in here to do it. Is this not the sort of thing that we would expect the minister and the government to be doing?
This seems to be one of the first times that the government has given any consideration to those living in the rural and regional areas of the ACT. In the budget that came out yesterday, nearly $300,000 of funding for Tharwa’s firefighting supply went underspent in 2021-22 and was moved to 2022-23. I think we can all agree that Tharwa is somewhere in the ACT that desperately needs such funding and needs that funding now.
I think that gets to the heart of how the government thinks about the people in the ACT’s far south. The Boboyan Road Upgrade Project, which is essential for safety for all those who use the road, especially in a fire season, is estimated to cost $10 million. Under the current funding arrangement, the federal government is committing $5 million, with the ACT expected to provide the other five. This motion is pretty much telling the people down south in Tharwa that upgrades to these roads that could save their lives during another bushfire season are not worth that money to the government.
We support the motion, but, as foreshadowed by Minister Steel, we would like to add a little something, and as such I move the amendment circulated in my name. In short, the Canberra Liberals support the motion, but we would like to add that if the push to reclassify those roads from a commonwealth perspective is not successful, it is the duty of the government and this minister to provide the necessary upgrades to these rural roads to bring them up to the required standard for the many thousands of people who use them.
Mr Steel has pointed out that there are lines in the budget that are attributed to this work. But I would also point out that there were promises made by this government in 2012 to redo the Canberra Hospital. It is now 2022. There are countless examples of budget funding being allocated to myriad items that have not been fulfilled.
So, in moving the amendment, we want to re-emphasise the importance of the spending on this particular area, because it is important to the safety and the livelihoods of many, many people in the south of the territory.
MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (11.50): I will speak briefly. The ACT Greens are happy to support the minister’s motion in its original form. I have spoken about roads in here a few times. The Greens are very supportive of maintaining roads. That is really important for road safety and public services.
The Greens are also really supportive of roads connecting people with active travel and recreation, such as the roads that are going to connect people with the trails in the national park. I think that is also really important. I am pleased to see the minister fighting so hard for resources. I think one of the key jobs of any minister is to fight for resources and then to implement and deliver. It is really pleasing to see how much he has taken that on board in transport and infrastructure in particular. It is good to see that progress. It is good to see that with a change of government there are new opportunities and we are following that through.