Page 2410 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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capital metro project and housing renewal will generate thousands of jobs for Canberrans, stimulate the ACT economy and help reduce the impact of the past commonwealth budget contraction.

As I have often spoken about in the Assembly, Gungahlin is Canberra’s fastest growing region. One of my top priorities for the region I live in and represent is to ensure that the infrastructure and resources provided to our schools keep pace with the demands placed upon them. This budget delivers just that with $31.3 million for new schools. That is $30.3 million for a new north Gungahlin primary school planned to open in 2019 and $1 million for a feasibility study to determine where a new north Gungahlin high school will go.

Additionally, important road infrastructure needs to accommodate our rapidly growing population and in this budget $31.2 million has been committed to start the important duplication of Gundaroo Drive and $17 million for upgrades and the part duplication along with $1 million for the design work for the full duplication of Horse Park Drive.

As always, government budgets are about juggling priorities. We are not in a position to fund or, indeed, build everything right now but I am confident that this funding meets the balance my community needs to continue to evolve and thrive. In addition, a further $8 million has been invested for more frequent suburb maintenance. This funding will help Canberrans see the pride they feel in our city reflected in the way our suburbs look and feel. Our burgeoning suburbs in the north will also receive more attention with an extra mow every year and our waterways will get a spruce up with the cleaning of Yerrabi and Gungahlin ponds.

Madam Speaker, this has been my first ACT estimates as an MLA and it has been enlightening to see just how much work and passion are invested by ministers, directorates, agencies and community organisations in supporting our community to thrive. Canberra is widely regarded as one of the most progressive and livable communities in the world and it is in no small part down to the work of the various bodies that appeared before our committee.

I would like to particularly acknowledge all the ministers for the time they gave to the committee. In no other Australian jurisdiction are ministers responsible for so many portfolios and in no other jurisdiction do they spend so much time before an estimates committee. While the estimates timetable is demanding I do believe that the process is important in providing the level of transparency Canberrans deserve from their Assembly.

I also thank my colleagues, in particular Dr Chris Bourke, Brendan Smyth, Chair, and Ms Nicole Lawder, for their approach to the committee proceedings throughout the period. And, of course, I also thank the committee secretariat. I am very impressed by the professionalism and organisation of the group. Through a mass of evidence, transcripts and draft reports the team, led by Nicola Kosseck, supported by Hamish Finlay, Brian Lloyd, Andrew Snedden and Sarah Redden, retained a sense of composure and willing assistance that has impressed us all.

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