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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2172 ..

infrastructure, the importance to the people of Canberra. High-quality infrastructure expands the productive capacity of the economy. It attracts new investment and provides more employment and business opportunities. It helps make us more prosperous. It is essential for the provision of health and educational services and social amenity. In short, high-quality infrastructure helps make Canberra a great place to live, to work and to do business. And indeed it has assisted or helped in making us the 26th most liveable city in the world, according to the recent Mercer worldwide quality of living survey.

Not only does the government recognise the critical role of infrastructure, we have acted accordingly. This government’s achievements in planning, investing in and maintaining the ACT’s infrastructure are significant and manifest. Never in the time of self-government has any government or any party delivered as much as we have delivered and continue to deliver. It is a record of achievement that all Canberrans have benefited from and will continue to benefit from for generations to come.

Since coming to office, the government has invested massively in infrastructure, with record-breaking capital works programs delivered over recent years. Our annual capital works expenditure has more than doubled from $110 million in 2001-02 to the figure for 2008-09. And during that period, government investment as a share of the total economy also doubled.

In the 2008-09 budget, the government provided a record $1 billion for the five-year building the future infrastructure program, which focused on establishing a health system to serve the needs of the future, improving the transport system, meeting the challenges of climate change, improving urban amenity, investing in public service infrastructure and providing for the growth of the city and its economy. The program was boosted with an additional $685 million in 2009-10, of which $306 million was funded by the commonwealth. In our latest budget, $394 million has been allocated to new projects, with a cash allocation of around $2 billion towards capital projects over the next four years. We get the best from our existing asset base.

We have also significantly increased our maintenance effort. Annual ACT government maintenance expenditure has increased by more than 55 per cent over the past five years and the government has established a separate capital upgrades allocation in the capital works program.

This government knows the importance of long-term strategic planning for infrastructure. The 2008 economic plan for capital development is explicit in this regard, recognising that infrastructure is a long-term asset and requires a long-term view. That means carefully considering future requirements and planning a coordinated, focused and effective program of infrastructure investment.

In September 2008, flowing from the capital development program, the government released a discussion paper to guide the development of the ACT government’s first infrastructure plan for a mature and growing city. This process culminated in the release of the infrastructure plan. The infrastructure plan sets out the ACT’s infrastructure priorities for the next 10 years. It fills the space between short-term budget infrastructure priorities and the government’s long-term goals as set out in the Canberra plan. The infrastructure plan has a 10-year horizon and will be updated annually at around the time of the budget.

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