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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 490 ..

who need this type of mental health support benefit enormously from it. My team and I welcome the funding and the expansion of this program for our city, for our people.

We have found much common ground in tackling climate change here in the ACT. I am very proud of the Canberra Liberals’ strong commitment to preserving our environment. A Canberra Liberals government was the first state or territory government in Australia to sign up to the Kyoto protocol. As shadow minister for the environment, I was proud to support efforts to reduce our emissions and lead the way in innovative ways to generate renewables.

It is time to go beyond targets and to work with industry and our higher education institutions to embark on the next chapter of our journey on climate action. As a former lecturer at both the ANU and UC, I had the privilege to see and work with some of the world’s best scientists and engineers right here in Canberra. We can be a genuine leader in developing world-leading solutions, led by science and technology. We have an enormous capacity right here in our great city. We have some of the brightest minds and the most passionate hearts to truly make a difference. Let us work together to reach a sensible and sustainable solution to reducing our emissions and developing clean energy technologies—solutions that will not penalise those who can least afford it—for our city, for our people.

The ongoing pandemic was a threat that no-one could have predicted. We stood alongside this government, and governments across Australia, in helping to protect our community. This budget commits $20 million for the vaccine rollout. Whilst we are mindful that this is not a silver bullet, Canberrans pin a lot of hope on the successful rollout of the vaccine to get us back to a semblance of life pre-COVID. My team and I welcome the commitment of this government to this rollout.

The pandemic has shown the power of working together. I acknowledge the Chief Minister’s willingness to work with the Canberra Liberals and with the federal Liberal government, in the best interests of Canberra, in responding to this pandemic. I ask the Chief Minister to continue to work with us in the same spirit. The pandemic goes above politics. We are all committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of all Canberrans—for our city, for our people.

Mr Assistant Speaker, I stand here today not with criticisms and opposition for opposition’s sake but with a willingness, a preparedness and a commitment to work with the government to fix problems—to make our city a better place for all Canberrans, a city where dreams can be realised. The only barrier to getting these things done is the partisanship and ego that this government is renowned for.

My message to Canberrans is this: if you believe in making Canberra more affordable so that everyone can get ahead, we are for you. If you believe in having world-class, nation-leading health, education and transport systems, we are for you. If you believe in taking local and practical action to protect our environment and reduce emissions, we are for you. If you believe in giving our small businesses a fair go to build, create, innovate and make dreams a reality, we are for you. If you believe in leaders who will invest in long-term infrastructure, befitting the national capital for our future generations, we are for you.

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