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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1262 ..


and extended it to three-year-olds. This means that jurisdictions like the ACT will have to go it alone in the provision of free preschool education to three-year-olds.

In this budget we have also called on the federal government to take steps to better embed gender responsive budgeting in its processes, which will bring the commonwealth more into line with the ACT’s commitment to wellbeing budgeting. Certainly, it would support the federal government in allocating its resources in a way that enhances gender equality.

We also reiterate the ACT’s long-held position that there be no cuts or transfer of essential commonwealth public sector functions away from the ACT. (time expired.)

MR PETTERSSON: A supplementary, Madam Speaker. Chief Minister, why is the ACT government pursuing a wellbeing budget?

MR BARR: We are embedding the wellbeing framework in our 2021-22 budget process. Throughout the pandemic the ACT government has focused on economic growth and jobs, and this has led to our nation-leading performance. Indeed, in many contexts, whilst Australia has been world leading, within Australia the ACT has led the way.

The pandemic, of course, has highlighted the importance of wellbeing measured beyond simply economic statistics. By turning our attention to indicators of social progress and then considering them alongside economic issues that we already measure, we will get a clearer picture of the broader effects of policy and, indeed, some non-policy factors that impact on our citizens, our businesses and our systems of service delivery.

It is measures like social equality, community safety, emission reduction and ability to participate in community life that go to the overall quality of life and wellbeing for our residents. So, whilst gross state product is an important economic measure at the macro level, we need to look more broadly. We are, across 12 wellbeing domains, so the government can truly capture the wellbeing of our citizens in our budgetary processes.

MS ORR: Chief Minister, why does the parliamentary and governing agreement commit to implementing a whole-of-government policy that government services will not be contracted out where they could be performed by public servants?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Orr for the question. There is a bit of a renaissance in the public sector. We have heard over the last year or so, from people who have spent most of their political careers criticising the public sector, what a valuable role a high-quality public service plays in the moment of national crisis. What we have seen at a commonwealth level and at a state and territory level during the pandemic is the importance of high-quality public services.

That is why it is critical that we continue to invest in the capability and capacity of our public sector and why we move beyond some of the tedious debates that have been had too often in this place, and certainly more so up on the hill, that everything that


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