Page 3881 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 25 August 2010

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growth areas of the ACT affecting the expenditure in the inner city areas—the existing areas?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. I have just printed off the Property Council’s discussion paper to be released today around the infrastructure needs of the city, so I have not had time to read it. But in terms of the proportion of expenditure that is going to support new development, there is certainly a significant part of the land release program and the associated infrastructure works that is going to delivering in new areas of Canberra city. You can say that there is more going in there, so there is less available necessarily for inner city infrastructure. But you could say that against any part of the capital works program. You could say it against health, education, community facilities. If somebody gets more then someone else loses out.

I think the issue that the Property Council have wanted the government to tackle has been around preparedness to borrow more to do more. We have indicated that we will need to borrow to deliver some of the infrastructure program over the next few years. Whether that is as much as they would like us to borrow—indeed, in their paper they do not think that we should protect the AAA credit rating at any cost, that we should borrow more, potentially jeopardise the AAA credit rating to deliver more and also deliver more in partnership with the private sector and let the private sector take some of the risk.

I think there are some very industry-specific discussions and points of view that have been put forward. Government’s job, I guess, is to weigh all that up, prioritise our expenditure and accept that there is never enough money to do everything that you want to do.

MR COE: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, with regard to the capital works program, do you have any concerns about performance, service delivery, monitoring, reporting or liaising with other departments?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I do not. I meet once a month with every department as part of the monitoring of the capital works program. I do that in a way to stay across the whole program, even though I do not have individual responsibility for each department’s capital works program. I think the government have worked hard in the last 18 months to make sure our processes across government are the best that they can be. Where there are delays or problems with particular projects, we are working and moving very quickly to address them. But the roundtables that the Chief Minister has had, the focus that we have put on our capital works program and the meetings that I have with every department every month to work through each project individually have greatly improved our own processes. You can see that from this end-of-year outcome: 74 per cent. It is actually higher; it is about 93 or 94 per cent of the revised program as outlined in the budget update. All of the agencies have done an excellent job this year and they should be congratulated for it.

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