Page 1410 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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earlier this year so that industry can plan, resource and respond with some certainty to the package of works to be rolled out in the next financial year.

The works delivered in our annual capital upgrades program touch on many areas of government: health facilities, community services, emergency services, parks, ovals and open spaces, roads and transport infrastructure, the city centre and shopping centres, preschools, schools and colleges and the arts and major venues.

The bill provides responsible initiatives that will provide confidence in the building and construction sector and assist to support jobs in our local economy. The package was not a waste of time and has been welcomed by community representatives, including the chamber of commerce. The chief executive of the chamber of commerce, Mr Chris Peters, is on the record as saying:

The reason it—

the package—

will have a direct impact is that it brings some certainty to business at a time, particularly in the construction industry, where there’s a shortage of work in the short term, so this will be a bridge between now and that larger capital expenditure—

that is, in May. He went on to state:

This will not only keep the construction industry busy, but it will also mean their staff, particularly apprentices, will continue to have jobs, and there will be flow-on—

to other industries.

These are difficult and challenging times, and the government is working hard to pull together our budget for May. The local initiatives package is an important statement of this government’s commitment to the territory’s asset base and to supporting jobs in the community. With this in mind we have worked hard since the bill was introduced last month to prepare ourselves to deliver the package. All we require now is the support of the Assembly for this bill for contracts to be signed and for industry to roll out the work.

I thank the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for their consideration of the appropriation bill. The response to the committee’s report certainly was not meant to elicit the emotions that it has elicited from Mr Smyth or, indeed, Ms Le Couteur. In fact, we have noted committee recommendation 5, which recommends that any further stimulus package consider one-off service provision as well as capital expenditure, because we are already doing that. That is already under consideration in our budget. It certainly was not intended to be an arrogant response.

Remember that the committee’s report was tabled on Tuesday. We are having this debate on Thursday. The turnaround time was fairly short. It did require a fairly short response to the report. I maintain that the government’s willingness to engage with the

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