Page 1807 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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The upcoming budget will continue to support the territory’s private sector, invest in programs and assistance to help local businesses to create jobs and continue to invest in the sectors of our economy that are driving growth, most particularly higher education and research. We will also focus on front-line service delivery, particularly in health, education, emergency and community services.

Let’s be very clear why we are doing this—because the commonwealth cuts have hurt Canberrans. The Abbott government made it very clear in last year’s budget and in this year’s budget that we are on our own. We are going to have to make our own luck if we want our city and our economy to grow in the coming years. By taking an expansionary and stimulatory approach to the economy, we will continue to implement the right policies to support jobs and investment by laying the groundwork for growth in the territory economy.

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call Ms Porter for her supplementary question, the question Ms Porter asked was: how does the ACT government support the economy, which I thought was a rather general question. The answer given by the Chief Minister had the feel of a ministerial statement and the announcement of policy. I ask both Ms Porter, in asking the question, and the Chief Minister, in answering any further questions, to be mindful of standing order 117(c)(ii) and the provisions of standing order 118. A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: My supplementary question is: what are the government’s priorities in the upcoming budget?

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the Chief Minister, not being privy to the budget, I do not know whether the government’s priorities are going to change in the budget. So you can ask the Chief Minister what his priorities currently are, but you cannot ask him to announce new policy, in accordance with standing order 117(c)(ii).

MS PORTER: Do you want me to repeat the question and ask him—

MADAM SPEAKER: No, I have got the question. I am just not entirely sure that the answer is going to be in order.

MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. The priorities for this government will always be supporting our economy and our community. Funding for health and education makes up more than half of the territory’s annual budget. We are proud of this fact. We are proud that we are funding a world-class health system and a world-class education system. This focus will continue. There will be a range of programs and new initiatives to ensure that Canberrans remain the happiest, healthiest and best educated people in this nation.

As I have indicated before on many occasions, jobs will always be this government’s priority. The economic and personal dignity that comes from work should never be underestimated. That is why this government has supported the territory economy and supported jobs growth. We will continue this approach to maintain, and indeed boost where appropriate, spending on infrastructure that has stimulatory effects for our labour market. And we will continue to support the private sector through programs that help local businesses to grow, to innovate and to create jobs.

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