Page 2999 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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thing. I think the Canberra electorate more broadly, right across the political spectrum and at this point we are at in the national and global economic cycle, would rather that we are prioritising infrastructure and services for Canberrans over a budget surplus. It is a good thing. I would be surprised if that is a controversial statement, which is why it is so surprising that the leader of the alternative government came in here and made the bulk of her budget rebuttal the quest for a budget surplus at some point.

When we get into some of the specifics, though, I do have some sugar and I do have some medicine: I have got some parts that I like, and I have got some parts that I do not like. Let’s take sports infrastructure as a good example. There is not a single thing that we are building in the sports and recreation portfolio that I am not enthusiastic about. It is all good. The home of football in Gungahlin and the ice-skating rink down in Tuggeranong are just two.

These are all really important, but, as the minister knows and as the government knows, I have had some reservations for some time that have been underlined in bold print by this budget. I am just not convinced that the long-term strategic planning work in this space is being done. So I still continue to have some reservations about whether we are spending money appropriately in line with community demand, with our community stakeholders as partners, and if we are finding some of the savings opportunities by co-locating facilities.

My colleague, Minister Davidson, speaks much more passionately than me about the virtues of a multiuse indoor sports stadium in Woden, and each budget that does not see money appropriated for something like that is something that will continue to disappoint me, though I understand the budget is about priorities. That is why I use the stadium as a good example, because, as much as it would be wonderful to have, I do think we have to prioritise our spending in the community sports space.

I want it on the record that I believe we should be prioritising that spending on sports facilities for Canberrans, not necessarily people that want to come here and watch a game, as nice as that is. I would like us focusing our attention on the half court at the end of the cul-de-sac in Kambah that TCCS mow around once a month. It does not seem to be recorded anywhere as a government asset or a community sport facility. I would rather us focusing on some of those things so that rate-paying Canberrans have great community facilities, and so we can provide the facilities needed for the next Patty Mills and the next Lauren Jackson growing up in Canberra to have great places to play sport.

In the business portfolio, there is one particular thing I wanted to reference as a tremendous initiative in this budget that everybody in the government should be proud of, and that is the partnership with Coolamon Advisors, under the direction of Katrina Fanning, for a new support agency for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. The reason I like this is that it is a great example for all of us in this place, all the ministers in particular, to think about how our contribution to the story of reconciliation must penetrate all of the work that we do, in every area of policy that we touch and in every way that we implement government decision-making.

While I think that, for most Canberrans, business supports is not the first place their mind goes to when they think about reconciliation with First Nations people, this is a

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