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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2966 ..

Of course, this government’s commitment to investing in building a better city and a stronger community stretches all the way across the ACT. We are in the process of drawing up an infrastructure plan to set longer-term priorities to build on those commitments made for our $1 billion infrastructure fund which was announced as part of this year’s budget. Mr Speaker, this $1 billion fund is simply a first down payment on a long-term program to build a better city and a stronger community for Canberra.

A centrepiece of our infrastructure plan is our health services and facilities program. The 2008-2009 budget provides $300 million over four years to begin the health infrastructure program called “Your health—our priority”. This will take our health system into the next decade. We are investing in major projects such as a $90 million brand new women’s and children’s hospital, a suite of mental health facilities, including an adult acute inpatient unit, a secure adult unit, mental health assessment unit—(Time expired.)

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.08): Mr Speaker, this certainly is a timely subject to be raised as a matter of public importance. I thank Ms Porter for bringing it to us, but that is about all I thank her for. I do not thank her for this attempt to throw out an election curtain. This revised MPI barely deals with protocol. I am sure there is no correlation at all between the fact that the ALP seems to be very attached to the slogan of “building a better city” and the title of Ms Porter’s MPI. It is, after all, an election year.

It may be construed by this government that, by virtue of its poor decision making and failure to adhere to proper process, it has instilled a sense of community of sorts, a sense of togetherness and bonding, formed out of the community’s overwhelming disdain for the way in which this government conducts itself. Look at the crowds that have gathered and continue to gather to protest against the power station and data centre proposal at Macarthur. Look at the 300 or so members of the community that banded together only yesterday in their protest against the closure of the Wanniassa medical centre. Look at the hundreds of community-minded citizens who bonded over the closure of 26 schools and the Griffith library. These bonds, if we are talking about building a stronger community, are formed by adversity and as a reaction to the arrogant, dismissive behaviour of this Chief Minister and his lacklustre ministers.

You really do need to learn, Mr Stanhope, that, as a community leader responsible for the cohesion, welfare and strength of our community, this is not the way you are supposed to go about it. This is not the way that you are supposed to strengthen our community. The fact is that that this government has no regard for the ACT community at all, let alone building a stronger one. In fact, this MPI should be called “the ALP’s divestment in building a better city”, or perhaps it should be called “demolishing a better city”, because, when you look at this government’s track record, that is about what it amounts to.

Let us have a look at a number of examples. The Griffith library was closed by the Labor government with flagrant disregard for the important role played by libraries in providing literacy and communications services as well as providing a focus for local

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