Page 60 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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We are also providing $500,000 over two years in business and industrial support for community organisations. This initiative will review community sector contracts and provide organisational effectiveness and industrial relations advice to non-government organisations. This will assist a structural change in this very important sector of our economy. We are also providing $500,000 for a domestic tourism marketing campaign, aimed at positively influencing visitation numbers to the national capital. This will provide a much needed boost to our economy and our businesses.

The bill provides funding in support of our elite sporting teams, recreational activities and enhanced cycling infrastructure in the territory. We are providing: an additional $2½ million boost for the provision of additional and necessary work to enhance cycling infrastructure in the ACT; $200,000 towards the development of an ACT motorsport strategy for the promotion and growth of motorsport in the ACT; $80,000 for the expansion of the national league team program, which supports the ACT’s elite teams competing in defined national-level sporting competitions; and additional support for the ACT Brumbies.

Our commitment to addressing climate change is reflected in the funding of a number of new initiatives, including: $10.4 million over four years for the new Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, bringing together the government’s response to, and oversight of, environmental, climate change, energy, water and sustainability issues. This includes funding of $725,000 over four years to implement the renewable energy feed-in tariff by March 2009; $75,000 towards the Building Council green star rating scheme; an external adviser for the request for proposals process to build and operate a large-scale solar power facility; and $1.9 million in this year for further works at the Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens.

The bill provides an extra $5.6 million over two years for regional facilities as a result of our consultation with the community over the use of former school sites. Funding will see expanded community facilities at Cook and Village Creek and a refurbished regional community facility at Holt. All of these will contribute to the vitality of our city and the strength of our economy.

Finally, this bill also addresses key and high priority commitments promised in the government’s 2008 election campaign and identified in our parliamentary agreement with the Greens. The bill funds enhanced accountability and transparency of the Assembly. The government acknowledges that the community is seeking greater accountability from its elected representatives. In response to these concerns, the bill provides for increased resources for the Assembly, not only arising from changes to the composition of members but also to the provision of additional capacity to undertake our work and improve overall government accountability and responsiveness.

The bill provides for an increase in appropriation of $36 million in 2008-09, comprising $29.8 million for operating initiatives and $6.2 million for capital initiatives. However, the impact on the territory’s net operating balance in 2008-09 is more modest, at around $16.2 million, as a result of commonwealth offsetting revenue.

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