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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 2007 ..

When it comes to urban renewal, I think we have government playing catch-up out in the suburbs on mowing and urban maintenance, still not investing the sort of money needed to fix up the neglect of the last 15 years. When it comes to infrastructure projects, like roads, instead of putting the priority into those roads at the outset, what the government is doing is piecemeal. As experience tells us—the jail and the GDE—you build half a road, you duplicate half a road, the community will pay more in the long run.

We have heard about public housing renewal. Let us be very clear what a lot of this agenda is about. It is about bulldozing Northbourne to make way for light rail. In order to make the BCR anywhere near positive—it is 1.2, and that is a very optimistic figure—it relies on the so-called urban renewal of the Northbourne corridor. That means the Chief Minister, Mr Barr, and his colleagues need to get rid of all the public housing tenants along Northbourne and move them elsewhere throughout Canberra so they can make way for urban renewal, as they call it, to put new developments on Northbourne to justify the BCR for light rail. There are many people in those properties along Northbourne that have been neglected by this government for years. I accept fully that some of those properties need renewal. But whose responsibility is that? Under whose watch for the last 15 years or thereabouts have these properties been allowed to deteriorate? That is the question.

If we are talking about urban renewal, let us be serious about it and let us acknowledge in this place that under this government we have seen urban decay. What we see in this budget is a small start in the right direction, but it is a small start compared with the enormous amount of money drained from this budget to pay for light rail.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (5.36): I am very pleased to rise to speak in support of this motion and I thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing it forward. I know that she is just as proud of our city’s suburbs, local shops and town centres as I am and, indeed, every member of the government is. Indeed every Canberran should be supportive of this. I am sure every single person in this place and across the city takes pride in knowing that they live in the world’s most livable city. You do not become the world’s most livable city without world-class schools and hospitals, and yesterday’s budget supported both, with $160 million invested in modern classrooms in schools across Canberra, and $1.5 billion in total for the health budget, including funding for a new public hospital at the University of Canberra.

One of the things I think all Canberrans appreciate about their city is how easy it is to move around. Yesterday’s budget invested to make sure it is just as easy to get where you want to go in Canberra in the future as it is at the moment. Obviously the government is investing in transport infrastructure that will transform the way Canberrans move around the city through the capital metro project. It is a very clear statement, a commitment for the future of Canberra, that we will not become a city like Sydney with people commuting for hours at the end of each day and the beginning of each day from far-flung outer suburbs by motor vehicle because that is the only option.

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