Page 97 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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Just over seven weeks ago the ACT government took to the people of Canberra a vision for the future of this city and offered them an experienced team of passionate Canberrans to deliver that vision over the coming four years. The people responded, according us the highest vote of any party and the greatest number of seats of any party in the Assembly. My team and I resolved to live up to and exceed the faith placed in us by our fellow Canberrans and we are utterly resolved that, by the time of the next ACT election in 2012, Canberra will be glad that it took the historic step of electing a third-term Labor government.

By then, in 2012, we will be on the eve of our centenary as a city. There are things that I am determined that this government will have achieved by then and that I as a minister will have delivered by then. But four years lie ahead of us before we get to cut the birthday cake and at least the first couple of those years are shaping up as challenging ones for our city and our community. They are years in which we will face competing pressures and feel the tension of suddenly unobtainable aspiration.

There will be the pressure to deliver on the commitments we must fulfil if we are to become a solar capital and play our part in tackling climate change. Simultaneously there will be the imperative of living within our narrowing means as traditional sources of revenue evaporate due to a slowing in economic activity. There will be the challenge of delivering on our billion dollar rebuild of the public health system while also investing in the other infrastructure this community is ready for:

• new schools, where they are needed;

• wider roads, where the traffic warrants it;

And more:

• activity and infrastructure that drive productivity;

• investment that reflects confidence in our great city;

• investment from a government where, for the first time in our history, the Chief Minister also takes on the potholes and the rubbish, takes on the roads and the traffic, the taxis and the buses, takes on the bus stops and playgrounds and street sweeping and bike paths.

And I do mean take on.

The Labor government went to the election pledging a better city and a stronger community and that is what we will deliver, global recession or no global recession, climate change or no climate change. We are the smartest, savviest, most educated, most aware, most thoughtful and most willing community in the nation. What we confront is challenging but not daunting. What we confront is no more or less than a magnification of the ordinary challenges that communities experience from time to time. As a community led by this government, we will meet the challenges of the coming months and the coming years. We will arrive at 2012 stronger, more resilient and, I hope, more caring.

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