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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 1933 ..

We are getting on with the job of building the state-of-the art University of Canberra public hospital, the first facility of its kind in the ACT—a subacute facility that provides an innovative approach to managing health care. This budget also provides a record package of investment to promote renewal in our suburbs and town centres. More is being invested into footpaths and cyclepaths to better connect people to public parks and shops. Common areas are being improved, with $8 million extra for mowing and weeding and maintenance services, and investment into more playgrounds.

In Gungahlin, the budget has committed to cleaning up both Yerrabi and Gungahlin ponds. Along with this, new outdoor exercise equipment will be installed at Yerrabi park—this is a great initiative—which is so popular already across Canberra. The recent photo competition for the Celebrate Gungahlin festival had a large number of entries depicting Yerrabi Ponds. It reinforced for me the importance this body of water holds for Gungahlin locals. I walk around it regularly, usually in the early mornings, which I do less at this time of the year. I know other locals are a bit hardier than I am. It is used more and more every month and it is great that the water quality will be improved.

In addition, much-needed upgrades for the Gungahlin library will be undertaken. The Gungahlin library loans over 400,000 items a year and is an important part of the town centre.

This budget puts Canberra families and their children first with record investment in schools. Led by Minister Burch, $1.1 billion is being invested into schools this year. This funding works to address this government’s priorities of building a public school system that achieves the best outcomes for Canberra students, a school system that provides the best opportunities for students with special education needs, and a system that supports young Canberrans hoping to undertake vocational and technical training.

I am thrilled that this budget also contains additional funding for schools in north Gungahlin. Currently the ACT budget funds 7,279 students and 650 teachers in eight public schools in the region. New initiatives by this government will also see $31 million invested in a new P-6 primary school in north Gungahlin to open in 2017 and a feasibility study into a high school in the area.

I know these announcements will be welcomed by Gungahlin families. As a community we know that our local schools are thriving. This investment recognises the growth of our community and this government will continue to invest in new schools in Gungahlin, building on the excellent public schools in the region that have opened in recent years, including Harrison, Franklin, Bonner and Gungahlin College, to name a few. This Labor government knows that investing in a quality education system, in teachers and in school infrastructure and, most importantly, in our children is the most vital tool to make sure that kids get the opportunity to reach their potential.

This budget is also about creating jobs. I am very pleased to see that this ACT Labor government is supporting Canberra businesses. The business development strategy is diversifying and innovating our economy, giving entrepreneurs and innovators an opportunity to get ahead, and giving businesses a chance to reinvest and create more jobs for more Canberrans.

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