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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 December 2011) . . Page.. 5741 ..

bodies is, in turn, well networked across the region. The result will be a wealth of solid input into joint regional economic development plans.

Land use planning and infrastructure issues are critical for both governments, particularly in light of the projected regional population growth. The MOU will deliver a new strategic plan for land use and infrastructure requirements for the broader region, taking into account the draft ACT planning strategy and the review of the Sydney-Canberra corridor regional strategy.

Each day more than 20,000 people from surrounding New South Wales travel to the ACT for work. New South Wales residents are responsible for a very significant proportion of the health care delivered by our hospitals, but there are other less obvious ways in which we service the region. There are cross-border implications for law and order and welfare, for example. One in 10 of the children in ACT schools live in surrounding New South Wales.

The integrated service planning priority of the MOU will initially focus on health and education. We need to establish a common and accepted database on the trends in demographics and population for the south-east region of New South Wales and the ACT. Once we have this agreed statistical information, the ACT and New South Wales governments can collaboratively map current and anticipated future service demand, identify appropriate sequencing of strategic infrastructure and examine cost-sharing arrangements. There are a number of exciting possibilities for collaboration in the region. Over time, the MOU will allow us to capture and progress many of these opportunities.

The rollout of the national broadband network will deliver a piece of infrastructure that has the potential to change the way residents and businesses operate and interact. The benefits of a high-speed, fibre-based network range from e-health applications to the delivery of educational opportunities, better management of the environment and diversification and sustainability of the local economy. The ACT, with its knowledge economy with internet and computer use rates that are the highest in the country and with a technically savvy population, is perfectly positioned to work collaboratively in the region to see that these benefits materialise.

I spoke earlier about high-speed rail. There is no question that high-speed rail will deliver genuine opportunities to our region. The ACT government has long been a strong supporter of the establishment of high-speed rail. We have also been very clear that any assessment of a high-speed rail network must consider the clear economic benefits of making Canberra and the capital region a crucial and early part of any network.

We would also hope that this analysis would look at the regional and broader benefits of linking the high-speed rail network into the enlarged and enhanced Canberra airport. The federal government has announced an evaluation of possible track alignments and station locations as well as funding options. While the conversation is still in its early stages, we need to be at the table. Both the ACT and surrounding New South Wales need to be in a position to advocate strongly for our inclusion in the

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