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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3037 ..


That being the case, I remind members that in debating order of the day No 1, Executive Business, that they may also address their remarks to Executive Business order of the day No 2.

MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (4.03): On 12 August 2021, life in Canberra changed and it changed within hours. When we first went into lockdown the Canberra Liberals stood side by side with this government. Our first priority was and remains the safety of all Canberrans. We respect and support the health advice that is keeping our community safe. On behalf of the Canberra Liberals, I again acknowledge and thank everyone on the front line, everyone who has and is working hard to make sure that Canberrans are getting through this pandemic.

We are now entering the ninth week of lockdown. This lockdown and the incursion of Delta have exposed, once again, Labor’s and the Greens’ arrogant and complacent governance of our territory over the last 20 years. Despite the efforts of the community and our hardworking frontline workers, the lockdown and its economic fallout will leave lasting consequences on families, on vulnerable Canberrans and on business. Sadly, many children are falling behind, many families are struggling under the poverty line and many businesses will never reopen.

The Treasurer on Wednesday attempted to sell his 10th budget as a “turbocharged economic recovery”. After 20 years of consecutive Labor budgets, Canberrans will not be fooled. This is a bandaid budget. The Treasurer is right that this budget is a critical one for the future of our territory but, after 20 years in government, after 20 years of fiscal mismanagement, after 20 years of arrogance and complacency and after 20 years of skyrocketing taxes and cost-of-living pressures, this government has run out of ideas. The pandemic has brought to a head the glaring neglect by this government in health, education, housing and infrastructure.

Canberra deserves a world-class health system befitting of the nation’s capital. And as one of the smallest yet highest taxing and highest income earning jurisdictions in the nation, we have the tools to create a world-class health system. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has put a strain on our health system, as it has on every health system around the world. But the most recent cash splash by this government to employ additional nurses is too little, too late. This is not a new investment. This is a government failing to deliver over half of its election commitment to hire more than 200 nurses. In the middle of a global pandemic and a COVID-19 outbreak in the ACT, this government has made almost no additional investments in our frontline health staff and infrastructure in health. Without the delivery infrastructure projects on time and on budget, our nurses and doctors cannot do their critically important jobs in keeping Canberrans safe.

This government was unable to manage the health system before the pandemic. Canberra has been plagued for years by the worst emergency department wait times in the nation. Our junior doctors face the nation’s highest rates of bullying and pay uncertainty, and we have an overall decline in investment in our health system—all under this government. After 20 years, and now with a pandemic on our hands, Canberrans have no confidence that this government will be able to deliver on its


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