Page 2265 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013
their children, where elderly parents are given some comfort about the long-term support plans for their children. This will be a significant and major reform, and the ACT is very proud to have been at the forefront of it.
Under the national plan for school improvement, there will be a joint investment of additional money. I keep saying “additional” because the opposition seem to have some trouble grappling with that term. It seems the Christopher Pyne letter, which I understand was received in the Liberal Party’s inbox about three days before it actually managed to get into my office and days after it had been received elsewhere, was simply rubbish, and I said so at the time. I have had officials scratching their heads as they have tried to formulate and understand the table that Christopher Pyne has put in that letter.
But it is good to see that Mr Hanson, who does not seem to have any independent thought, has accepted Christopher Pyne’s numbers hook, line and sinker and just spouts the $31 million. It is extra money going into ACT schools and I think it is perhaps a failure to understand how the indexation arrangements operate in the federal allocation of education funding. Perhaps that is the biggest problem here and the fact that the New South Wales and Victorian governments have slashed their education budget, resulting in a much lower indexation rate than was going to flow through to the ACT. This gives us funding certainty and will improve educational outcomes across the board and, again, we are very proud to have been at the forefront of this reform.
This budget is sensible, it is measured, it is a budget for the times, it does respond to what we are seeing in our local economy and it is balanced against the things that we have to do and the things that we would like to do more of. I commend the budget and the motion to the Assembly.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.43): I am pleased to rise today to speak in favour of Ms Berry’s motion. This government has handed down a fiscally responsible budget that prepares the people of Canberra, including my electorate of Brindabella, for a stronger future. This government is committed to investing in Brindabella’s future, with particular emphasis on the most important issues facing my community today—health, education and jobs.
When talking to my electorate, the main thing they raise with me is access to health care, and especially affordability. That is why this government is delivering on its election commitment of a nurse-led walk-in centre that will provide free services to the Tuggeranong community. $951,000 has been committed to the design and fit-out of the Tuggeranong and Belconnen nurse-led walk-in centres. With thousands of Canberrans already using this service at the Woden campus for minor injuries and illnesses, this government is happy to be able to take this service out into the community.
The walk-in centre will be located at the Tuggeranong town centre, and the community will be able to utilise this resource far more readily than it has been used before. Everyone I talk to in Brindabella about this is absolutely ecstatic that this service is being brought into the community.