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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4650 ..

The local initiatives packages also complemented the additional work which was announced by the federal government in its nation building and jobs plan. That package, of which the territory gets a $350 million share, had a very positive impact on this city, both in terms of the additional or upgraded facilities that it will provide and in terms of the jobs that it supported.

Given the unprecedented global economic and financial conditions, the immediate priority in response for the government was to support economic activity and jobs in the ACT. As I mentioned earlier, the ACT government made a strong commitment to investing in health infrastructure to support our economy, job growth and the provision of high-quality services.

Over recent years the government has invested around $500 million in the implementation of the capital asset development plan for health infrastructure. This plan is central to the achievement of many of the health priorities in The Canberra plan: towards our second century. The capital asset development plan contributes to the broader social and economic objectives in the Canberra plan, by providing a stimulus to the local building industry and contributing to the revitalisation of town centres across the territory in the form of new and expanded community health centres.

This investment in health infrastructure is also central to the health components of the ACT government’s infrastructure plan, which sets out the broad elements of the capital asset development plan as priorities for government over the next 10 years. The government committed $300 million over four years towards the capital asset development plan in the 2008-09 budget. New announcements in the 2009-10 budget, valued at $148 million, related to e-health, the Belconnen enhanced community health centre, and the walk-in centre. Furthermore, we expanded on our commitment in the 2010-11 budget, through an additional $33.1 million, including $14 million towards a significant expansion of the Tuggeranong community health centre and $15 million towards the extension of the clinical services reserve.

The 2010-11 budget also identified $28 million for the commonwealth funded capital region cancer service centre. There have also been specific commitments towards local jobs in the health sector, through our support for GPs and increased numbers of nursing staff, more GP training scholarships, the successful lobbying for the pre-vocational general practice placements program—and, indeed, we also funded some extra professional development for allied health professionals, doctors, nurses, and assistants; they are well advanced. Additionally, eight new speech therapists have commenced with Therapy ACT and, in response to increasing demand for obstetrics and gynaecology services, we have also provided significant new resources in that area.

We have continued our efforts in working collaboratively with academic institutions, with a large number of student placements, covering a broad range of the health professions. Across government, we are working with our partners in the non-government sector and in the industry, to keep our eye on the main game, which is to make sure that our economy performs strongly.

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