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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 December 2011) . . Page.. 5733 ..

Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Ms Porter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of regional collaboration to the ACT and the region.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.01): Regional collaboration is an important issue for the ACT. As we know, the nation’s capital is an island within New South Wales, intrinsically linked to the surrounding region. But, just as importantly, the surrounding region is intrinsically linked to Canberra, as the service centre of the entire south-east—an area that contains some of the fastest growing cities in the country.

It is a relationship that is unique in Australia. It presents great opportunities. But in order to realise those opportunities it is essential that we work in concert with our neighbours, not in isolation.

As Canberra heads into its second century as a city and as we seek to safeguard our prosperity and our liveability, it is crucial that our mechanisms for engaging and collaborating with the region are based on an agreed vision and agreed outcomes. The signing last week of a memorandum of understanding on regional collaboration by the Chief Minister and the New South Wales Premier is a sign of the importance that both governments place on effective collaboration and engagement. I am sure the Chief Minister will speak in more detail about that signing and what it means for the people of Canberra. It is work that takes our regional engagement to the next level, building on some solid groundwork and investments by the ACT Labor government over recent years as well as some extremely significant investments by the commonwealth and by the private sector.

The ACT government is making historic investments in water security and the health system, for example, both of which have clear benefits and implications for the region. The recent decision by the commonwealth to jointly fund the Majura parkway is another major investment with regional impact for both local freight movements around the region and general domestic traffic in and out of the capital.

The growth in our post-secondary education sector, and the consistently high quality of our tertiary institutions, positions us as a natural magnet for the best and brightest from our region to pursue further education. And of course the huge private sector investment in facilities at the airport is positioning Canberra as a much more significant player in passenger and freight movements by air, with fantastic opportunities for the region and for existing and potential industries.

The time is right to take the relationship between the ACT and the surrounding areas of New South Wales to the next level. There are some solid foundations upon which to build, as I said previously. One of the most recent of these foundation relationships is the eastern regional transport task force, made up of representatives from the New South Wales government, the Queanbeyan City Council, the federal government’s department of infrastructure and the ACT government directorates of TAMS, CMCD, ESDD, Treasury, and Economic Development.

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