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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1686 ..

Opposition members interjecting

Ms Orr: A point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Stop the clock, please. I think I can anticipate the point of order, Ms Orr.

Ms Orr: Sitting behind the Chief Minister, it is very hard to hear his response when those opposite are making considerable comment.

MADAM SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order. Please, Mr Hanson, let the Chief Minister answer in peace.

MR BARR: An unlikely scenario, Madam Speaker. As I was saying, the commonwealth budget identifies two pieces of road infrastructure physically located inside the territory for some further business case development—namely, the Monaro Highway and Pialligo Avenue for duplication, with a capped commonwealth commitment and with the bulk of that funding coming outside the forward estimates period—heading into the mid-2020s.

The ACT government will certainly consider those projects that the commonwealth has suggested. They are not new; they have been suggested previously and we have put them forward. We are happy to undertake some further work on those projects with a view to bringing the actual construction into the forward estimates period. That would be a useful thing so that the works would be completed within the next four years rather than some time beyond the forward estimates period, in the mid-2020s. There is also a positive in that the commonwealth has established a new major projects fund that will enable business cases to be developed. (Time expired.)

MR PETTERSSON: What does the commonwealth budget mean for ACT jobs?

MR BARR: It would not be a Liberal budget if there were not some job cuts in Canberra, and we see our national institutions are again in the firing line with job losses, particularly at the National Library and the National Archives, which is of course disappointing.

One area where it would appear there could be bipartisan agreement is the disappointment at the continuation of the decentralisation agenda that appears to be driven principally by the National Party, seeking to move jobs and agencies out of the ACT. That process has continued. It was ironic, I thought, that fully one-quarter of the ACT’s total infrastructure allocation, around $25 million, was set aside to get the APVMA out of McDonald’s, Armidale, and into some new building. They have lost most of their staff. It has been an abject failure as a policy direction. It should be abandoned, and I think those opposite actually agree with me on this point.

MR STEEL: Chief Minister, how will the forthcoming ACT budget differ in approach from the commonwealth’s?

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