Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2963 ..
that the government-organised community insurance program does not actually save community organisations any money at all. I am waiting to hear better news on that, but if we want to really strengthen our communities we could start right there with our community organisation insurance policy.
I look forward to talking about our aged people in our community when we get to the next item, which I see that Ms Porter has also brought to our attention.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (3.58): Mr Speaker, I thank Ms Porter for raising this matter of significant importance to the community. When we talk about infrastructure we are talking about much more than bricks and mortar and steel and concrete. We are talking about services for the community and making life easier and better for the people of Canberra.
Underpinning this, of course, is a strong focus on generating economic activity and using the dividends to meet our community’s needs. Mr Speaker, I am very proud of the fact that this government has kept Canberra’s economy strong so that we can invest in the future with more money for schools and hospitals, addressing climate change and building a stronger community.
We have maintained a budget surplus, balanced the books, and made the tough decisions to prepare Canberra for the future. As Ms Porter has already articulated, our record speaks for itself. We have doubled spending on health services for Canberrans, and I understand that we have lifted the mental health budget from the lowest per capita in Australia when we came to government to the second highest.
We have increased funding for disability services and child protection services so that we are better able to protect, support and care for those most vulnerable in our community, and we recorded strong economic growth with the lowest level of unemployment and high interstate migration.
Mr Speaker, our commitment to the future in delivering what the community needs is apparent across the ACT, but I would like to highlight at this time our particular focus on the new development areas of Gungahlin. We have initiated a bold program of development in Gungahlin of both physical infrastructure as well as vital community services. We are able to do this because we have strength and stability through working together as a united, experienced and energetic team.
We are delivering on a range of initiatives to build a better city and a stronger community for Gungahlin. The Gungahlin Drive extension, which was recently the recipient of the Master Builders Association major silver project award has delivered seven kilometres of road and 10 bridge and underpass structures.
Along with other road connections, the Gungahlin Drive extension now provides improved access from Gungahlin and the new northern developments to other suburbs of Canberra. We are also committed to a staged duplication of the GDE, starting with a $4 million project at the southern end of the GDE which will, amongst other things, create a second lane from Aranda to the Glenloch Interchange.