Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 April 2008) . . Page.. 1147 ..
places available through Skilling Australia, the additional funding available for Asian languages in our schools and a commitment to increase retention rates. Mr Smyth, that is important for local business—providing a trained workforce into the future. Another initiative, of course, is the development of a national curriculum. There are a range of areas across my portfolio responsibilities where the commonwealth government is showing interest in working with the states and territories rather than against them. That is a significant change that we have seen in the last three or four months, since the election of the new government, and reprioritising expenditure.
Surely, when you look across a commonwealth government budget of more than $100 billion, there is room for some reprioritisation of expenditure to areas that are important for our community—investment in public health, investment in public education, investment in Indigenous affairs. All of these areas are important. There is no doubt, when you look at history in the long run, that changes of government have impacted on the ACT. There is no doubt that, through that transition period before new government policy priorities come to fruition, there is always an impact on the ACT. The question is: do we and are we able to respond and do we have in place a range of measures of our own? I think that is very clear, again, just in my portfolios alone, with $350 million worth of investment in education infrastructure, not to mention the investment in new facilities and opportunities in the tourism portfolio.
I note that Mr Smyth is a constant critic of Stromlo forest park, but for that $7½ million investment, we will be hosting, amongst other things, the 2009 world mountain bike championships, as well as a number of Australian mountain bike championships. If he wants to talk about diversifying our economy, there is an area within the tourism portfolio where this government has invested. If we are not already the number one city in Australia for cycle tourism and for cycling, we are well on our way to achieving that goal. That is just one small area within tourism. There are a range of others where we continue to invest locally and we continue to work in partnership with the commonwealth government. I am particularly interested in the rollout of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of education infrastructure and support across the ACT.
Mr Smyth: Why don’t you talk about the MPI?
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, you are already on the edge of a warning. Order!
MR BARR: I refer to the rollout of those hundreds of millions of dollars worth of commonwealth investment, of which the ACT will receive a significant share, and we are very well placed—(Time expired.)
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The time for this discussion has concluded.
Gene Technology Amendment Bill 2007
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.42): We are having a day of interesting and complex discussions regarding the overlapping of science, ethics, the precautionary principle