Page 2265 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
Ms Lee: Madam Speaker, a point of order: the Chief Minister is misrepresenting me and I ask him to withdraw.
MADAM SPEAKER: If you didn’t interject, there would be no confusion. There is no point of order. Mr Barr.
MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Speaker, but I will take the question Ms Castley asked as a genuine question. We do examine the administrative arrangements from time to time, but not every area of government can be brought into the central department. In light of the theme of the questions, which largely relate to budgeting and Treasury, as distinct from the Chief Minister’s directorate, the way the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate works is as three distinct streams. If the issue is in relation to budget reporting and the wellbeing indicators, and applying a gender lens through that work, then in fact most of that policy work occurs in Treasury. The Chief Minister’s area does assist, from a policy perspective, but in terms of the budget papers that is largely work undertaken in Treasury. At this point, I am not proposing to change the administrative arrangements, but I don’t rule out doing so in the future. This is one of a number of areas that have been raised with me in that regard. (Time expired.)
MS ORR: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, in the budget you announced funding for an infrastructure plan refresh. What is the purpose of this work and what does the government aim to achieve?
MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question. Representing the Yerrabi electorate, she is certainly aware of the very big infrastructure program that has occurred in Yerrabi and what will be needed as the population continues to grow.
The history here is that the government released a 10-year infrastructure plan in 2019. It was a comprehensive plan spanning the decade, from that time forward through this decade, detailing around $14 billion worth of key infrastructure investments across every possible asset type that the ACT government would be responsible for delivering. It includes new schools in suburbs, the expansion of the Canberra Hospital and renewal of existing infrastructure, as it is not just what you build new but also a program of infrastructure renewal and improvement.
The plan provides a framework for how the government will renew established infrastructure to cater for Canberra with 500,000 people. That is now only a matter of years away, when a lot of previous demographic projections suggested it would not happen until the mid-2030s. But so popular is our city, and such a wonderful place to live, that we are going to get to 500,000 people this decade, and possibly as soon as the next four or five years. That is why we had in the budget yesterday a $7 billion infrastructure plan over the next five years. It is a sequenced program with small-, medium- and large-scale projects, building the infrastructure that the growing city needs and supporting jobs.
What we are also doing now, though—and I highlighted this in the budget papers and in my speech yesterday—is looking at a mid-term refresh of that infrastructure plan.