Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5034 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

many of the qualities and advantages Canberra enjoys in a context. Without a doubt, there is some vision for economic development in the ACT in the white paper. Unfortunately, it does not tie the elements together in a cohesive manner, which perhaps explains the lack of timelines, targets or even ordered priorities. Consequently, it is hard to read the implications of the paper, no matter how much sympathy we might have with some of the broad directions.

I was pleased, for example, to see that the white paper identified environmental industries as a significant area of development and opportunity for the ACT. Unfortunately, action 26 of this paper, the closest thing we have to a target, only commits government to an industry and capability mapping exercise. It is said that this will better link R&D to commercialisation partners, but there is no strategy in the paper that would ensure that development and commercialisation occurs.

It is also worth noting that the decision on transport at the end of the document seems to celebrate the airport expansion with no reference to the problems of the development of employment and industry at that site, that it is not connected to strong public transport links and is a long way from the growth housing areas. Similarly, and interestingly, there is no mention of enhanced rail links to the ACT nor of a light rail or even busway network through the ACT; there is only the Gungahlin Drive extension and the upgrade of Majura Road.

In the context of increasing oil prices, and indeed oil scarcity, and given the scandalous state of the New South Wales rail network, some discussion of these factors in the context of economic development would have been in order and, I would suggest, should have been a priority. A priority for the establishment of a sustainable transport network would have been a good start. The dedication of this government to improving the transport infrastructure as an element to underpin our economic development, with some targets to aim for, would have been a positive sign.

Another important point made in the white paper was that affordable housing in Canberra would ensure population growth within rather than outside our borders, resulting in improved economic growth and community benefit. It also claims an intent to "create a planning environment that better affects residents' aspirations for living close to work". There is no commitment, however, to providing affordable housing in this paper, no targets and no timelines.

The white paper is the product of a lot of work and a lot of consultation. It is hard to know from reading it what the priorities will be for government, and some of the actions in this document will be in conflict with others. The government is not following its own advice either. On the one hand it identifies research as one of the real resources for our economy, yet it is sacrificing our biodiversity which is the basis of so much research here in Canberra. Gungahlin Drive going through O'Connor Ridge; O'Malley; Forde and Bonner are examples.

This is also a white paper for people who do well in their education system and who are more or less affluent and engaged. Poverty and social exclusion are entrenched in different parts of our community and the businesses and industries the white paper focuses on will not create jobs for the people who need them most.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .