Page 3033 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013
assistance strategy will help people to retain or regain their drivers licence, vehicle registration or right to drive in the ACT by making the payment of infringements more flexible.
We are also lending a hand to around 27,000 households through an expansion to the energy concessions program. The concessions program will increase another 10 per cent under this budget, which means that the maximum concession will rise from around $293 to $322.
When you look at this budget in its full context and you see the initiatives and reforms that have been announced, I think you will find it very hard to say that this is not a government that seeks to build on the best characteristics of our city. Dr Bourke’s motion calls upon the government to examine ways that we can ensure we have an inclusive and fair society which creates opportunity for all members of our community.
This is a challenge that I think is worth embracing by us in this government. Canberra is, for most of our residents, a city that provides great employment, good wages, excellent communities and fantastic public institutions, including our nation-leading public education and health systems.
However, there is a portion of our community who do struggle to make ends meet and who are not able to benefit from the support offered by governments. I think there is some work for us in this place and for those in the commonwealth government to do to alleviate pressures faced by people who are in insecure work or caught in the gap between federal government support and full financial and social self-sufficiency.
As someone who has spent most of her life representing some of the lowest paid workers in Canberra, I am guided in my work here in the Assembly by the need to ensure that Canberra’s significant prosperity is shared by all who live and work here. I thank Dr Bourke for bringing this motion to the Assembly and I commend it to you all.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (4.47): I am pleased to rise in support of Dr Bourke’s motion this afternoon, and I will speak on a number of the elements of it.. I am particularly pleased through this budget to be able to include funding for a range of priorities and projects that ensure a stronger economy and greater fairness and opportunity for all Canberrans. And the backdrop for this budget and the decisions that have been taken certainly reflect an economy that exceeded expectations in 2012-13.
We were very pleased with the level of employment growth within the territory economy, and to see the July 2013 figures showing an all-time record level of employment in the territory of 211,600 is, indeed, a very good outcome for our economy—the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the second highest participation rate.