Page 282 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy) adjourned to the next sitting.

Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services—portfolio responsibilities

Ministerial statement

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.15): I ask leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement concerning my portfolio responsibilities.

Leave granted.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is a great honour to deliver my first ministerial statement today. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Brindabella and my caucus colleagues for placing their trust in me to take on this new role. I would also like to place on record my appreciation and admiration for the work of the previous minister, Bill Wood. I recognise that I have very big shoes to fill, and am looking forward to the challenge.

The portfolios of urban services; disability, housing and community services; and police and emergency services are at the front line of service provision for the people of Canberra. I am pleased to advise the Assembly this afternoon of the government’s priorities in these areas. I do not need to convince anyone here that Canberra is the best city in the world to live in. We have a beautiful city that affords our residents a great quality of life. Our open spaces, parks and bushland make Canberra unique and a great place to live. The government is committed to keeping Canberra beautiful and encourages all Canberrans to join us in this task.

The government has a range of priorities in the urban services area to further enhance the level of amenity in our city. Firstly, work has commenced on forward design and preliminary assessment works for the construction of the Majura Parkway. $1.5 million has already been allocated for this work as part of the 2004-05 capital works program, and it is expected that this preliminary work will be completed by the middle of next year. This road will improve transport options for the citizens of Gungahlin to Canberra’s east, particularly Fyshwick and the airport. It will also improve freight access from these areas to the Federal Highway, and access to other areas within the capital region.

Secondly, recognising that infrastructure in many of our older suburbs is starting to show its age, Stanhope Labor has committed to expanding the territory’s footpath maintenance program by $4 million over the next three years. This initiative will commence in 2005-06 and boost the capacity of the department to maintain Canberra’s footpaths. This increase in funding is over and above the $3 million being spent on footpath maintenance in 2004-05.

Canberra’s sportsgrounds and urban parks have been badly affected by prevailing drought and associated water restrictions. It has been estimated that, over the past couple

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