Page 2252 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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A further $13 million has been set aside for the capital upgrades program for ACT schools. This will see several schools in my electorate benefit from upgrade programs such as school security improvements, car park and traffic safety improvements, classroom refurbishment and roof upgrades, just to name a few. Over and above this, this budget has allocated $2 million for the stage 1 modernisation of Belconnen High School, which Ms Berry mentioned, and a further $3 million for the west Macgregor primary school expansion, which, as you know, will cater for the fast-expanding suburb of west Macgregor.

I am happy that this government continues to acknowledge the need to encourage Canberrans to lead healthier lifestyles. Members would be aware that there are many preventable diseases that continue to cause serious illness. This budget, through the urban improvement program, has focused on improving recreational options to encourage active living. Specifically, through this program, the Ginninderra community will see $100,000 set aside to undertake improvements to access arrangements at Emu Bank, a very popular area for local skaters and residents who wish to access Lake Ginninderra. Further funds have been set aside for completing the design and renewal of playgrounds in a number of parks, including John Knight park, which, as you all know, is a very well patronised park. The Weetangera neighbourhood oval will also benefit from the urban improvement program, ensuring that the local community enjoy high quality sporting facilities. It is developments such as this that encourage our young people to pick up a sport of their choice and aspire to play on first-class grounds such as this and the other recently refurbished grounds in my electorate.

These initiatives, and many others that my colleagues have talked about or will talk about, acknowledge the growth in my electorate, and my constituents will greatly benefit from the critical services that will be provided.

To conclude, Madam Speaker, I reiterate that this budget is a good and responsible Labor budget that will set Canberra in a better position to address future challenges. Canberra residents are better off through the many initiatives contained in it.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.58): When I first saw the notice paper for today, and in the discussion in admin and procedures yesterday, I was a little surprised to see two opposing motions on the notice paper on the budget. Standing order 59 says that we should not be anticipating matters that are due to come before the Assembly, and I had thought about asking advice on a point of order as to whether these were in order today. But it seems that it is the will of the Assembly to talk about the budget, and perhaps it is past practice. It raises interesting questions about the purpose of the standing order, but nonetheless this is where we find ourselves.

I understand that it was also the plan to debate these two motions cognately. Now we find ourselves with the motion brought forward by Ms Berry that essentially praises the budget, and Mr Smyth’s motion, next, which clearly is going to put a counterview, so we can reprosecute all these arguments with the next notice on the notice paper. Perhaps we could have done it cognately and had that one overall debate.

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