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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 491 ..


Just as Canberra has been the place of hope for me, I give this humble commitment. As a young Korean girl who saw Canberra as the place where important decisions are made, as a young uni student who had the privilege of every opportunity I could have asked for, and now as a mother and leader in the community, I will do everything I can to make sure that Canberra shines brightly as the place of hope for future generations, as a place where dreams are realised, as a capital not only in name but in heart.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (3.58): The Greens have in the past made the point that every budget now needs to be a climate budget. We know that declaring a climate emergency was not theoretical but is driving us to further urgent action. This budget has climate action as its headline and delivers climate responses—not just in the obvious ways but in the broadest interpretation. This is a significant and positive change. The Greens took the platform of “building a better normal” to the election, and, as you can see, with six MLAs here today, many people in Canberra chose that better normal. This budget is one of the first clear steps towards that.

The many people from Labor, the Greens and the various directorates who have worked on this budget should be proud that the ACT is once again modelling the way forward: evidence-driven spending, with budget decisions based as much as possible on facts and science as well as an ambition for equality, social justice and strong community.

As partners in this joint Labor-Greens government, and as a party with our own distinct identity, there is always a decision the Greens have to make about whether we are going to be glass half-full or glass half-empty about something as important as the territory budget. After the year we had in 2020, I am choosing today to take the former approach. I believe things are looking up, not just in Canberra but across the globe. There is a COVID-19 vaccine rollout on the horizon. And the horizon is visible, and blue, instead of being the brown smudge it was just over a year ago for so many Australians, at the end of our longest, hottest, most dangerous summer to date.

There is now a more sane, responsible government in the United States—one, incidentally, that, with its “Build Back Better” slogan, has framed the COVID recovery process in a very similar way to how the Greens envisage it with our “building a better normal” program. Many responsible, people-focused governments seem to be thinking along the same lines. Let us not go back to the way things were before. Let us use this unique opportunity to make something better than we have ever had, something that will equip us to deal with the challenges of rising temperatures and rising inequality that lie ahead. Let us recognise that when we spend our money well, we can achieve multiple benefits with the same dollars, including starting to tackle wicked problems. “Let’s keep moving,” the re-elected New Zealand government suggests, and that sounds about right, too.

This is the fourth consecutive term of the ACT Assembly to be governed by a written parliamentary agreement between Labor and the Greens. I am more convinced than ever about its power and success as a mechanism for both parties to articulate, and deliver on, a clear vision for the future of our territory. It provides both a compass to


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