Page 2290 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question and for the opportunity to talk about the budget’s contribution to building and transforming our city. The budget is about strengthening our economy and creating opportunity and fairness for all Canberrans. The budget makes a series of investments in transport infrastructure projects and in other critical infrastructure projects. Importantly, it also delivers on a number of critical social reforms for our community, most particularly the funding of disability care but also the funding of the national education reform agreement.

The budget creates capacity to deliver the Capital Metro project, the city-to-the-lake project and the University of Canberra public hospital, which along with the government’s four-year infrastructure spend of $1.27 billion contributes to thousands of construction jobs which are being supported across the territory this coming financial year and into the future.

In an environment in which the commonwealth is cutting back its expenditure in our economy and against a significant threat, as acknowledged by the shadow treasurer on the ABC television news the other night in relation to what his federal colleagues plan for this city, we are through our infrastructure projects seeking to provide economic impetus for this economy to see us through this difficult period in the context of commonwealth government investment in our economy.

The city not only needs a transformational transport network; it needs a major project like Capital Metro, which provides not only transport renewal but urban renewal. City to the lake and Capital Metro completely change the way we engage with our city centre. The projects enhance the experience of the city centre by making it more accessible and by providing great public spaces and facilities that are attractive to residents and to visitors. It is a safer, more accessible and more diverse range of activities that are supported through this infrastructure investment.

It has certainly been very topical in the last 12 months. The government continues through this budget to support nation leading tax reforms. Every treasurer in Australia knows that these reforms are the right thing to do. It is important to stare down the nay-sayers and to ensure that we go about systematically removing inefficient taxes from our system to remove the dead weight loss that those taxes bring to our economy. Unfair and insidious taxes should be abolished, and the government is doing so.

The budget also contains a number of measures to assist our construction sector, which is facing a range of challenges over the next few years. But by providing targeted incentives, reforms to the first homeowners grant, stamp duty cuts and stamp duty concessions for properties valued up to $525,000 for those on household incomes of up to $160,000, we are making a very positive contribution to assist the industry through a difficult period and to ensure that we add to the supply of housing in our city. All of these initiatives contribute to providing our economy with a boost and we look forward to their implementation. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Treasurer, how does the tax reform strengthen the economy?

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