Page 112 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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town centre’s Emu Bank foreshore is lined with eateries, outdoor tables and the new wetlands where people enjoy the vista of Lake Ginninderra and the adjacent parkland around John Knight Memorial Park.

We have invested in the new rapid bus network and interchanges in Belconnen and facilitated the urban intensification of the town centre, with its skyline rapidly changing and more people moving into the area. The nearby University of Canberra is rapidly expanding, with more students, more student accommodation and more jobs within the university and its support industries in Belconnen.

The first stages of UC sports common are complete and soon construction of the University of Canberra public hospital will commence. Across the road from it is the new suburb of Lawson, providing hundreds of construction jobs at present, and soon it will be home to many more Canberrans. Further afield, Labor is investing in new services at Calvary hospital and the new multi-storey car park. The Bruce campus of CIT is one of the most modern and a great environment for the many students studying for careers in a range of industries.

Across from Westfield Belconnen, the new Belconnen health centre and the nurse-led walk-in centre is another hive of activity, and there are new jobs in the area thanks to Labor. This builds on the work of successive federal governments that once upon a time took responsibility for creating Canberra, not only as the home of our national parliament but as the national administrative centre, housing the great departments of state, the public service, their family members and associated services such as schools and hospitals. This stimulated an environment where business could flourish.

The federal government sought to build this greatest of Australia’s inland cities, a model city with a great quality of life for its community. This work has continued under the ACT government and has largely succeeded, according to an OECD report recently. It named Canberra as the most livable region. However, the Liberals, under Prime Minister Tony Abbott, have ripped up the compact with Canberra as the national capital by abusing the public service, treating it as a plaything, relocating offices to electorates it wants to pork-barrel, sacking public servants who ran projects the Liberals did not like and applying wholesale cuts.

Now the Liberals are looking to move the immigration department out of Belconnen. There is no thought for its long-term workers who have made their homes in Belconnen or for the Belconnen businesses small and large that serve and rely on those workers and the department. Immigration’s 4,000 workers in Belconnen are a major part of the local community and the Belconnen economy. The Liberals have already hit Belconnen, with the downsizing of the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the arbitrary removal of a sizable chunk of it to Geelong. This is to cover for the federal government’s killing of the local car manufacturing industry.

On the one hand, the Liberals are scattering units of the ABS and the tax office to pork-barrel far-flung electorates. On the other hand, they argue Immigration officials need to be within walking distance of each other and the new paramilitary border force. With Scott Morrison, the architect of the integrated customs, border protection and immigration department, now shuffled off to Human Services, who knows how

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