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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 19 March 2015) . . Page.. 963 ..

Canberra Institute of Technology, the cyber security industry at the University of New South Wales Canberra campus and elsewhere. All of these projects are acting as creators of highly skilled jobs in the ACT.

Canberra has a well-deserved reputation as a knowledge capital where our universities and education providers are integral parts of our economy and our community. We are fortunate to be a multi-university town, but we cannot take this for granted. We need to work with all of our higher education providers to grow and to allow the exchange of ideas, the undertaking of new fields of research, the discovery of new solutions, and the successful creation of a range of offshoot businesses. This effort will be repaid many times over by developing the potential in students in this city, attracting the world’s best and brightest to live here and, importantly, drawing new investment into the ACT economy.

This is one area where the contrast of approaches between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party is stark. We are making the investments in a more diverse ACT economy and supporting our higher education sector to grow. It is the right thing to do for this city at this time and we will make it happen.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.10): It is a treat when the new Chief Minister just asserts: “This is the difference between the Liberal and the Labor Party; we are going to make it happen.” You have to look at his record in office and you have to look at the record of this government in office on whether they can make anything happen.

Dare I go back to the new ESA headquarters at Fairbairn that the government mismanaged, going from something to the tune of $13 million to $75 million? Or there is the opening of the AMC. It opened to great fanfare but was not ready. That led to all sorts of operational problems. There was the renewal of the Tharwa bridge, which was apparently impossible to start with but which happened just as the Canberra Liberals said it would happen. Of course, when it comes to infrastructure projects, there is the great success of this government, the GDE. It was in the budget in 2000, originally for, I think, $55 million, to open in July 2006. What was the final bill? It was about $200 million. It was five years late and there was the debacle of opening one lane and then coming back even before the one lane was finished and saying, “It is at capacity. We must open a second lane.”

It is good for the Chief Minister to assert, “This is the difference: we deliver and we are diversifying the economy.” The record, the truth and the statistics do not bear that out, and they never do.

This is typical of the Labor Party’s approach: stand up and say it often enough; talk about the Labor Party’s achievements. We have heard lots this week from Mr Barr. He says “I”, “me” and “we”, but the reality is that for some 10 years this government did not have a strategy for diversifying the economy. Every time I raised the issue of diversification, they laughed. They realised that in the lead-up to the 2012 election they had to do something, so we had a document. We know that that document was simply a rebrand, a rehash, a relaunch or a re-instigation of things that they had forgotten, denied, gotten rid of or shut down. That is your record, Chief Minister, and that is the record of the Labor Party across the country.

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