Page 731 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013
MS GALLAGHER: We are flattered, Jeremy. We really are. Mr Hanson said that it is very important to take on a more substantive role as a regional centre. Tick. That sounds like regional partnerships to me. Then it goes on about things we do such as high tech and tertiary education and looks at how we make those sectors grow. Tick. That sounds a little like study Canberra. There you go. It even went on to say—this one is a good one: make it more attractive for business to do business in Canberra through deregulation. So that sounds a little bit like the red tape reduction task force and micro-economic reform, which I think is the Liberals’ way of saying “tax reform”.
So there we have it. We have got tax reform. We have got cutting red tape. We have got regional partnerships. We have got higher education. And we all know how Mr Hanson copied the health policy at the last election. So I will add health in there as well. So there we have it. We have all of those areas as priorities for this government and—shock, horror!—priorities for Mr Hanson as well. We are terribly flattered.
I would just finish by saying that most of us in this place know that we do not always believe what we read on RiotACT. But this time it appears they have got it just right.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, could you tell us why economic diversification is so important for Canberra’s economy?
Mr Smyth: Given that you have ignored it for a decade.
MS GALLAGHER: The interjection from the great diversifier himself! We have been hearing it from you for many more than 10 years, Mr Smyth.
MADAM SPEAKER: Would you like to get to the question, Ms Gallagher?
MS GALLAGHER: I will. This is an important question, particularly as we face the challenges that are going to eventuate here in this city, particularly under a federal Liberal government and the decisions that they will make to cut thousands and thousands of jobs. I am sure senator-elect Seselja will stand up strongly for Canberra—and have a lot of influence, no doubt, when Tony Abbott will not even take a call. Tony Abbott will not take his call but I am sure he will have a big say in that federal government—a big one! The issues of diversifying Canberra’s economy have been—
Opposition members interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Hanson and Mr Coe!
MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I refer to the work being done by the Economic Development Directorate in relation to growth, diversification and jobs in terms of driving other sectors of the economy. The education economy is a large component of the Canberra economy but it can be bigger. We have our role as the national capital; we have our role as a region. We have to drive other sectors of our