Page 3758 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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My government is committed to maintaining our existing excellent infrastructure. We are also committed to providing the new infrastructure that we need to enable continued economic growth and prosperity and to maintain the unparalleled quality of life that we Canberrans enjoy.

The timely delivery of quality infrastructure is central to the ACT’s economic development strategy. For this reason the ACT government—in our most recent budget, passed just a couple of months ago—announced the $1 billion building the future fund as the centrepiece of that budget. The program incorporated within the $1 billion building the future fund sets out the most urgent infrastructure priorities for funding over the coming five years. This is the first time an ACT government has had not only the capacity but the strategic vision to incorporate in an annual budget a forward infrastructure program of the order and nature of that included within our most recent budget.

Our capacity to provide for a $1 billion infrastructure program over the next five years, in addition to our rolling or annual capital program, is a direct consequence of the economic management, the fiscal management, that has been a hallmark of this term of government, of my government.

Some of the tough decisions that were taken three years ago have resulted in a level of stability, a balance sheet that is the envy of other governments around Australia, sustainable surpluses across the budget cycle and accumulated cash to date, over the last three years, of $800 million. This $1 billion infrastructure fund, a program for the next five years, over and above the rolling capital program, is a funded infrastructure program—funded to the tune of $800 million by accumulated surpluses or cash—with anticipated surpluses over the four years to provide the billion dollars of investment which we have announced and for which we are planning. That billion dollars is additional to our average, rolling capital program.

There is an additional $300 million through a first-tranche investment to establish a health system for the future—$300 million over four years, not five, to be added to by at least another $700 million over the other six years, too, we expect at this stage. The Minister for Health will have more to say about this shortly. That is a billion-dollar investment in health infrastructure over the next 10 years.

There is $250 million of infrastructure for the territory’s transport system, to increase its efficiency, to meet the needs of a growing economy. That is $250 million over and above our normal capital program. There is an additional $100 million for improvements for urban amenity. There is an additional $100 million for adaptation to climate change, taking our total climate change investment to $242 million in just the last three years. There is $50 million additionally for cutting-edge information and communication technology, particularly for the business of government. There is a $200 million boost to the existing capital works program to support growth, particularly in the land supply program. And there is over $31 million—(Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

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