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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1819 ..

from income tax cuts announced in the budget. This will mean over $1,000 a year more for many Canberra families, money that will be spent on local businesses and to grow our local economy. Unlike those opposite, the Canberra Liberals believe that Canberrans know how to spend their money better than any politician.

The federal coalition government has also continued to invest in Canberra and has delivered benefits to the Canberra economy. In the 2017-18 budget the ACT government was allocated $2.136 billion in federal funding. We can now see from the revised budget estimates that the ACT government will receive $139 million more in 2017-18 than was previously expected.

The budget also contains $200 million in infrastructure spending for upgrades to the Barton and Monaro highways. There is another $130 million in ICT upgrades for the Department of Home Affairs and the Bureau of Meteorology. There is also additional funding to fix road black spots and money for the National Gallery and the National Capital Authority. There is $2.6 billion more for ACT hospitals, nearly double what the ALP promised in their last year of government. This is our federal coalition government continuing to invest in Canberra.

The Canberra Liberals strongly support Canberra as the centre of government in our country and the Australian public service continuing to be the lifeblood of our city. It is important, however, that the ACT economy is not solely reliant on the public sector. The Canberra Liberals strongly support local business. We continue to advocate for diversifying the ACT economy. The public service is a great source of employment for Canberra and the money that public servants earn continues to build a diverse local economy. The Canberra Liberals want our local economy to be self-sufficient and self-sustainable so that it is not immediately threatened by policy changes from either side of federal politics.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.07): I thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker, for giving us the opportunity to talk about the Liberal Party’s incessant push for decentralisation against both economic sense and common sense. As I said in the adjournment yesterday, this week’s federal budget is yet another budget that is almost worse for the ACT than nothing. It has job cuts, budget cuts and efficiency dividends, which are all part of this federal government’s radical ideological agenda and further proof that unfortunately the Liberal Party sees Canberra as basically just a good political punching bag.

Canberra was, of course, founded for one reason: to be the seat of our new—at the time—federal government. It was to be, and is, our nation’s capital and was and is to house our national institutions, our commonwealth public service and our commonwealth parliament. The ideological push by the Liberals to decentralise the public service is not built on any genuine concern for unemployment in regional communities. If it was, they would first off commit to: raising the rate of Newstart, on which it is simply not possible to live; funding new programs like climate change resilience or region-building infrastructure; or even creating new Australian public service positions, services and remote working hubs in these regional towns. No, decentralisation is all part of the same agenda that leads to job cuts, budget cuts, privatisation and every dead-end zombie policy left over from the 1980s. It is about

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