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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4649 ..

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. This program was boosted with an additional $685 million in 2009-10, with $306 million funded by the commonwealth.

Additionally, the total 2009-10 budget capacity allocated to capital investment is just over $2 billion over the next four years. This is an ambitious four-year program with unprecedented commitments to territory infrastructure. These commitments take a long-term focus in providing confidence and stability for industry to support jobs in the short term. They will increase the territory’s asset base by more than 20 per cent and boost the productive capacity of the economy in the longer term. Given conservative estimates that $1 million of capital expenditure supports an average of around three jobs in the construction and associated industries, the government’s investments could support more than 2,000 jobs in the ACT economy.

The government has given particular focus to young people, to ensure that they do not suffer as a result of the long-term consequences of the financial downturn. Some examples of our support for a range of initiatives and infrastructure investment to help build the productive capacity of the workforce include: the delivery of up to 10,000 additional training places for existing workers and job seekers, through the COAG productivity places program; the expansion of the CIT scholarship program, helping around 1,000 students per annum with materials and fees in courses in areas of skill shortage, at a cost of $1.4 million over four years; and providing almost $10 million over four years to increase the number of school-based apprenticeships, with up to 100 new apprenticeships supported each year through the established group training arrangements. Students in this program can achieve a nationally recognised vocational qualification and are engaged in paid work, training and formal study as part of their year 12 certificate.

We are providing a further $9.9 million over four years for the construction of a new purpose-built facility for electrotechnology training at the Fyshwick trade skills centre. This facility will focus on green technologies and industry partnerships, and will provide up-to-date training and equipment to ACT students. We are supporting ACT apprentices at risk of losing their job through a new service to help them stay at work and continue their studies.

Another important contribution we made to the local economy was to ensure strong local employment was part of the local initiatives package presented to the Assembly as Appropriation Bill No 3. This package included a very modest, but essential, spend of $25 million worth of works to be delivered over two years. That contained a wide variety of works, targeted at areas where there was emerging capacity in the building and construction industry. The package was developed to respond in a timely manner to concerns that were identified within the building and construction industry and communicated to government through a series of roundtable meetings, and it was in addition to the significant work the government had announced and funded in the budget.

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