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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3522 ..

I am proud of the work that we have done to date to provide transitional pathways into the ACT public service and I look forward to expanding this work. I also commit to advocate for the ACT’s veterans community to have access to their own veterans wellbeing centre and I would invite all members of this place to join me in doing this.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (3.52): I rise in support of Minister Davidson’s amendment, and I thank Mr Hanson for the opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution the defence industry and personnel make to the ACT economy and that of the Canberra region.

For someone who I know genuinely believes in the value of defence and its personnel, Mr Hanson did his own argument a disservice by not reading the amendment, doing literally no research about the ACT’s engagement with this industry or perhaps just ignoring it to assist his own argument. It has, regrettably, become a common theme for Mr Hanson that he just says anything, based in fact or not, so long as it supports his confected outrage.

In 2017 KPMG reported that the total economic contribution of the defence industry to our region is $4.3 billion. In the same report it was estimated that for every $1 billion spent on defence operations in the Canberra region, gross state product grows by $1.4 billion and adds around 8,000 jobs. The defence industry is broader than the department and the Australian Defence Force. The defence service industry, which includes a wide range of supporting services, everything from engineering to health care, contributes a further $854 million to gross state product and supports an additional 5,900 jobs.

The ACT government does continue to work hard to raise the profile of Canberra’s defence, space and cyber capabilities. We are proud to facilitate a range of activities under our Team Canberra approach, promoting Canberra as an attractive place to do business, forge relationships and identify new opportunities.

In partnership with the industry and our tertiary institutions, we are collaborating with other states and territories. We are working to build a high-performing skilled workforce, attracting investment to grow the industry in the Canberra region—yes, Mr Hanson—and fostering new ideas and growing research and industry partnerships. Continuing to grow our defence industry will play a key role in our achieving our aim of 250,000 secure local jobs by 2025. But, of course, it is important to note that the defence industry contribution to our region is not just economic.

Minister Davidson has gone to this at length, but it is worth underlining just how important it is with the defence force, in that it instils in its members skills and values that do serve people well throughout their lives. We thank serving members and veterans for the broader contribution that they make to our community and the care, the support and the defence that they provide. I support Minister Davidson’s amendment.

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