Page 639 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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Ms Porter outlined a number of the investments we intend to make in additional bed capacity, a birth centre and health staff at Calvary hospital. She has touched on the expansion of the very popular walk-in centre model and the funding we will inject into community nurses and community health services. We will also provide $80 million over four years for an additional 5,000 elective surgery procedures.

Just as I read this list out, I recall the similarities between ACT Labor’s health policies and the Liberals’ health policies. The only difference was that the Liberal ones came out maybe a week or so after we had already announced ours, except with slight additions or changes. It was perhaps the most flattering part of the campaign. No, that was probably that Liberal ad they did which said, “I really like Katy Gallagher, but …” That was flattering too, but I think perhaps copying the health policy was the highlight of the election campaign for me.

In regard to education and child care, again there are important commitments there. There are investments going into school infrastructure, a new school at Coombs, planning for Moncrieff and, of course, investing additional resources in professional development for teachers. We will also make sure that we are at the table discussing equality in funding education, making sure that the funding dollar goes to children regardless of what school they might be in but where it is needed the most.

We made a number of commitments around improving local services in upgrading and improving community infrastructure. Of course, like yesterday in this place around the light rail project, the work that is going into that has already commenced. We have got a number of upgrades to shopping centres, including Evatt, Florey, Fisher, Kaleen, Hughes, Spence and Macquarie as well as minor upgrades to a number of other centres.

I know that people will really look forward to the lowering of the qualifying age for the seniors gold card. I have already had a number of representations from people asking when will that start. Because it requires appropriation, we will be considering that in the budget context.

The community bus service came up frequently during the election campaign, the need to increase the very popular service started by this government, the regional community services having additional transport options for the clients that they are now taking all over town on the community transport program.

As you can see in just that short time, there are a range of commitments that are already underway. We have got a very busy four years ahead of us. We do not take the Canberra community for granted. We heard the election result and we are conscious that 50 per cent of Canberra voted for the government that is before them today, but that also means that there were a lot of people who did not vote for us. We listen to them as well. We represent them, and whilst we have made a number of commitments in our election commitments to the community there will be, of course, other work that is done outside of those in delivering what we need to do to make sure that we continue to be the government of choice for the people of the ACT.

Discussion concluded.

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