Page 2804 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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This government has picked up and has funded the development of NICTA, tortuous though it has been trying to get the NICTA campus in Canberra off the ground. It is now starting to come out of the ground. We have invested in a commercialisation fund that can now offer $30 million with the addition of external funding that has been attracted by the government’s investment. We have a genuine and substantial venture capital fund to operate in the ACT, a fundamental in trying to develop our economy.

We have invested in the University of Canberra in the area of allied health professional development. We have actually made decisions and invested so that there will be a continuing ongoing benefit, not some photo opportunity of the signing of a deal that was costing the ACT taxpayer some money to the benefit of a multinational with whom we have been hobnobbing in recent times.

Mr Smyth made something of there being no targets or timelines in the economic white paper. I have, and will continue to, come to this place from time to time to report on the achievement of the actions that have been laid out in the economic white paper so that this Assembly is informed that those actions have been taken. The majority of them have been implemented now. So it is not a case of 2013 or promise. Much of it is in place, has been done and exists now. We will continue to do that. We will continue to report to this Assembly on the overall plan. For the first time what the overall plan has been able to do is say to the world, “Hardcopy. Challenge it; examine it if you like”—and certainly I expect our opposition to pore over it and examine it; I am sure they have tried to do that—“This territory, through its government, does have a vision. That vision has been articulated and the structure behind that vision has been articulated.”

Let me say that we have in place a social plan, a spatial plan and an economic plan through the economic white paper, none of which have been the subject of any substantial criticism. There has only been the usual carping at the fringe. Speak of the devil, Mrs Burke! That carping really amounts to negativity. That is what we got. We do expect a degree of negativity from the opposition but we do also expect to see an alternate vision, and we have seen absolutely nothing.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member’s time has expired.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.42), in reply: I feel very lucky to be a Canberran. I was born here in the original Canberra community hospital and grew up in the leafy suburb of Reid. I have seen and been part of Canberra’s history and I have watched this city grow into the vibrant, exciting capital we enjoy now. I have watched the creation of Lake Burley Griffin and indeed spent many weekends as a youngster fishing for yabbies on its shores. I have watched the creation of the Monaro Mall and I have played on almost all of our sporting ovals as a youngster. I remember fondly our union picnic days being held at the Cotter Reserve and the wonderful camaraderie that Canberrans enjoyed in their own community space. I have been part of the new suburbs creation and enjoyed taking part in the construction of my own home in Calwell just as the suburb started off. I have seen how my own electorate has grown, both with construction and with a sense of community.

But with all of this growth and community activity, there has been no instrument to coalesce our community and bring it into the future, until the Canberra plan. As we have

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