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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 925 ..


high-growth sector offers our economy. The work on establishing the hub will be led by former UNSW Canberra Rector Dr Michael Frater. The focus of the hub will be on four key objectives: to grow Canberra’s cybersecurity education pathways; to accelerate SME growth connections and to attract investment; to promote the ACT’s research capabilities; and to showcase Canberra’s cybersecurity capabilities. The government’s investment also supports collaboration across the sector with the CBR Innovation Network to support the hub to accelerate opportunities for small and medium enterprises.

These sectors that we have touched on, including renewable energy, are ones with tremendous potential for multibillion-dollar growth within Australia. The ACT is very well placed to leverage these opportunities, commonwealth government procurement, multinational investment, and the skills and talents we have within our existing public sector research institutions, the universities and the CBR Innovation Network. It is an exciting time in these industry sectors. The ACT government will continue to be a partner with the universities and our R&D sector to grow this area of our economy.

I will close on that note, Madam Speaker. I advise members that, of course, a detailed response to the issues raised by the various Assembly committees is provided in the government response. I draw people’s attention particularly to the economic analysis of the ACT government’s COVID stimulus packages. In particular, when you take out the commonwealth government and its share of the ACT economy, you see that, of the balance of the ACT’s gross state product, the ACT government’s investment in economic growth and economic stimulus during the COVID period is nearly double that of any other Australian jurisdiction.

I commend this chapter of the budget to the Assembly and acknowledge the work of the many ministers in this portfolio in bringing together a coherent economic development strategy for the ACT. Things are looking good, Madam Speaker, for our COVID recovery, and we need to build on this momentum.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate—Part 1.6

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (10.23): It is my absolute pleasure to be jousting with Minister Steel for the first time in an appropriation debate as the shadow minister for transport. I acknowledge that we are having this appropriation debate in the week that celebrates the second birthday of the commencement of the light rail service. I would genuinely note that the building of the light rail line and the establishment of Capital Metro is certainly one of the great political achievements of the Labor-Greens government.

Despite that, as we move forward into the 21st century as a city, I think that one of our great failures as a city continues to be the ability to convince more Canberrans to get out of their cars and onto public transport. Anyone who believes that we could solve that malaise by simply building a tram down Northbourne Avenue, it seems, is sadly mistaken. We are a hell of a long way from where we need to be in regard to public transport patronage in the ACT. The Canberra Liberals are committed to light


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