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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1768..

And we will redouble our efforts to ensure that Canberra businesses have access to the best workers, with the best skills, with a strategy that focuses on human capital development and long-term work force issues.

This will involve some significant refinements to our business advisory mechanisms.

Mr Speaker, while this budget remains faithful to the vision and the principles of the economic white paper, it also responds to emerging priorities, and business has been strident in letting us know that their priority right now is skills.

Today, I announce the establishment of the ACT Skills Commission.

The commission will replace the existing Canberra Partnership Board and the Small and Micro Business Advisory Council.

The ACT Skills Commission will provide leadership and ensure coordination of effort. It will ensure that tackling skill shortages is at the forefront of our decision-making and our policy-making.


Mr Speaker, Canberra is not just a city of 330,000 proud residents. It is the nation's capital, home to national attractions and monuments which belong to all Australians.

There is always a balance to be struck when we consider how to best promote our city to ourselves, and to those from outside our borders.

There is no doubt that the national face of Canberra is already well promoted beyond the city limits by commonwealth agencies such as the National Capital Authority-and, of course, by the national attractions themselves: the war memorial, the national museum, the national gallery-each has a significant promotions budget.

The danger is that we will find ourselves duplicating the commonwealth effort, or making an investment in the promotion of local sights that cannot be justified by the dividend.

This budget reduces funding for tourism, though it will still be above the national average. Some of the savings will come from the consolidation of tourism functions within the public service. While the ACT Tourism Corporation will no longer exist, the government will want to keep speaking to members of the board and drawing upon their ideas and expertise in a less formal capacity.

Structural reform

Mr Speaker, one of the greatest gifts any government can give to the community is a public sector that delivers the best possible services at the lowest possible cost. Ask an average Canberran whether they would prefer their rates and fees to be swallowed up in agency overheads or to end up back in the community in the form of services, and his or her answer will be clear.

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