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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5035 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

On top of the high tech focus of government, it would be good to see a commitment to the community sector that could both create employment and provide the social support necessary to build a cohesive society. It might be argued that some of these concerns would be addressed in other government documents but it seems more likely that some of these issues, such as the resourcing and development of our social service and community sector, with all of the employment and community development benefits that flow from that, will fall through the crack again unless there are real priorities and targets in the plan.

So it would be possible perhaps to pull this white paper together with a spatial plan, a social plan and, one would hope, an equally explicit commitment to biodiversity and ecological sustainability, to give an overall view of where this government wants to take us. We need at the very least a series of action plans which really do have a series of timelines and targets so that government can be held to account.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (4.29): I think it is important in the context of this debate to acknowledge that this is the first ever significant, serious or rigorous piece of work that has been undertaken in relation to the development of an economic and industry strategy for the ACT.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: if the Chief Minister-

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. That is a point of discussion.

MR STANHOPE: This is the only serious attempt that has been undertaken by a government to determine or deliver an overall long-term strategic plan or vision for the ACT, not just in relation to issues around industry and the economy, but in the context of an industry and economic plan, a social plan, a spatial plan-all of which will come together as a plan for Canberra into the future. This is the first piece of genuine, long-term visionary strategic work that has been done by an ACT government-or indeed by anybody. The Commonwealth at the time had stewardship of the ACT prior to self-government.

I take with a grain of salt-as we all should-the criticisms that we have heard today from the Liberal Party, the Greens and the Democrats, in the absence of the scintilla of a policy on the economy or on industry development in the ACT. We will wait with bated breath over the next 10 months to see the response of the Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals to this most pressing of all issues: namely, a vision for the future, a vision for industry for the future and a vision for the economy of the ACT for the future-acknowledging, of course, all the other issues that have been raised.

The focus in the speech made by Mrs Dundas, of the Australian Democrats, was around this being a white-collar-a very clever play on words-white paper. She completely ignored the essential nature or importance of wealth creation as a way of ensuring that all of the other social programs that drive our capacity to develop and expand the economic base, the employment base or employment across the board, derive solely and essentially from our capacity to maintain a strong industry, a strong industry base and a vibrant economy. And that is what this plan does.

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