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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 1993) . . Page.. 2315 ..


CANBERRA IN THE YEAR 2020 STUDY
Ministerial Statement and Papers

Debate resumed from 20 May 1993, on motion by Ms Follett:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

MS SZUTY (8.58): Madam Speaker, it is with delight that I respond to this third stage of the task set for the Government on 20 August 1992 to inquire into and report on a strategic plan which will take Canberra through to the year 2020. My only regret is that we did not have time to debate the third stage of this very important process during the last Assembly sitting in June. I was not so confident when the issues papers of stage two were presented to the Assembly in February of this year. However, since the appointment of the reference group and its adoption of the task, I am more confident of a positive outcome.

I am very pleased with the progress being made by the reference group, which seems to have brought momentum to the task at hand. I know that the members of the reference group are working exceedingly hard to achieve the goal set for them, as Ms Follett mentioned earlier this evening, and I am sure that all Canberrans will benefit from their endeavours. I am also delighted with the promotion and support that the 2020 vision study has gained from the local media. It has had considerable coverage in the Canberra Times, and local ABC presenter Matthew Abraham devoted a week of programming to receiving community views on how the vision should progress. Support such as this will ensure that the widest coverage is accorded to the task. While that may have increased the workload for Peter Ellyard and his team, the end result can then better reflect the ACT community's views and its hopes and aspirations.

It is pleasing to hear the enthusiasm of those people who have taken part in the ABC discussions and the ease with which they have adopted the future history tense, speaking of 1993 as the past and 2020 as the present. This adds to the sense of fun the exercise has engendered, making the inquiry more universally appealing. It also lends an air of reality to the discussions. We are not talking about what may be, but immersing ourselves in the future, allowing ourselves to discover that time when we will all be 30 years older, without focusing on pensions and retirement benefits.

The discussion has included activities and interests similar to those we currently engage in and made it easier to see a potential future as we would like it to be. I congratulate Dr Peter Ellyard on his insistence that the present tense be used for 2020, a move that I feel has been truly effective. I am also impressed with the outline provided by the reference group, which divides the task into two distinct parts - the probable future of the year 2003 and the preferred future of 2020. By marking these two important milestones, there is a reference point, a marker which relates this far distant date, 2020, to the here and now. The year 2003 is just 10 years away - as far away from us as 1983 is at this time. We can look back and realistically make assessments of what the ACT will be like in 10 years' time. I am quite interested, therefore, in the computer program Creating Our Future, which is being used as one of the tools of the reference group. As a non-computer literate person, I find it fascinating that such modelling can be done through the medium of a computer. I visited the reference group at the University of Canberra some weeks ago to observe this process.


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