Page 2232 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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MS GALLAGHER: I believe it was two. I will check that and get back to you, but I am pretty confident that it was two.

Budget—capital works programs

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister advise the Assembly about the government’s achievements and plans for infrastructure development that are getting the territory ready for the future?

MR STANHOPE: I am very happy to do that. I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. The government’s record on capital works delivery far eclipses that of the previous government. It is reasonable to say at the outset that we have a proven track record in consistently delivering the annual capital works program for the ACT. The 2008-09 budget papers forecast that the capital works program budget for 2007-08 will deliver record levels of expenditure at around $314 million; that is, $314 million of capital programs delivered on the ground over the last financial year.

Under this government the territory’s economy continues to flourish. It is difficult to envisage this level of confidence and investment in the territory’s economy if the government had not been prudent in managing its finances. The point which I just made in response to the previous question is moot—without the level of prudence, without the level of devotion to the detail of the budget, the determination of securing our financial position, we would not be having a debate about our capacity to build the infrastructure currently on the drawing board.

Good financial management has placed the government in a position where it can not only keep up this significant investment in infrastructure but also make additional investment in priority service areas. The government is certainly making the territory ready for the future.

The government has achieved hard-won gains by pursuing its reform agenda. It has achieved a budget surplus one year ahead of schedule, giving it the capacity to now focus on continuing to invest in services and infrastructure, and to invest at a level never potentially been achieved.

Significantly, this unprecedented level of investment will be surpassed by the $1 billion building the future infrastructure investment program and the annual capital works program. This adds to the existing forecast program, taking the government’s commitment to infrastructure and capital in this budget to $1.5 billion over the budget and forward estimates. This is a new record level of investment in the ACT community to ensure that we can deal with the challenges of the future.

The investment program will further increase the productive capacity of our economy, reduce future costs, and provide for the continued growth of the economy to give Canberra a competitive edge against any city.

The 2008-09 budget includes $300 million through a first tranche investment to establish a health system for the future. That $300 million is—the government admits,

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