Page 3494 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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MR BARR: I think Mr Coe is more interested in having a conversation than listening to the answer to his question.

MADAM SPEAKER: I am listening to the answer, Mr Barr.

MR BARR: It is very good of you, Madam Speaker. I am delighted that I have maintained your interest and attention in my answer. The reason for the delay related to environmental clearances and approvals required under commonwealth law. This is an area that was a former defence precinct. There are a number of issues around environmental remediation, and appropriate measures needed to be taken to ensure that the area was suitable for development. Those processes have now completed and development is proceeding.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, why is the construction sector so important to Canberra’s economy?

MR BARR: The sector accounts for around nine to 10 per cent of employment and economic activity within our economy, so it certainly is an important contributor to the territory’s gross state product. There is also a considerable level of employment in the construction sector across a variety of disciplines. So a vibrant construction sector is, indeed, a good indicator of the strength of an economy, and it is pleasing to see that, in spite of some decisions taken at the commonwealth level in relation to a withdrawal of commonwealth expenditure in the territory economy—that is particularly the case after the completion of the ASIO building—there is such a strong pipeline of development for the territory.

The Deloitte Access Economics investments monitor for the June quarter shows there are $3.5 billion worth of investment projects underway in the territory. There are major projects in the pipeline including: capital metro; the city to the lake project; the west Belconnen development; the housing developments that I alluded to in one of my earlier answers; of course, the new Gungahlin office block; the redevelopment of the Woden town centre, including a new bus interchange; significant capital works to support land release in the Molonglo valley; the developments in Coombs, Wright, Lawson, Denman Prospect, Moncrieff and Throsby; the infill estates at Greenway in the electorate of Brindabella and the Kingston Foreshore; and, of course, the various elements of the city to the lake project. So there is a strong pipeline of construction activity.

Mr Smyth: When will the first building be built in city to the lake?

MR BARR: Mr Smyth, you can sit back in opposition and watch us deliver these projects. I am sure year 12 to year 15 in opposition will be enjoyable for you, Mr Smyth.

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