Page 1223 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017

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MS BERRY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I thought I was being as clear as possible when I said that public housing development and renewal are occurring on all land across the city in all different suburbs. We are looking at community facilities land as well.

I think it is important to note that over 85 per cent of the ACT community supports public housing being built in the ACT. Most members of the Canberra community want to make sure that if people in our community need a hand up, they get it, and that they get some choice about where they live in our city, the same as you and I.

MRS JONES: Minister, will you select another block of land if the result of the consultation is that the community is overwhelmingly not supportive of that proposed location?

MS BERRY: I think we would have to have the conversation first before talking about situations that could or might occur. If there are suggestions about other sites that would be available that we could include in conversation about more public housing in addition to the public housing that we are renewing right now then I would be absolutely open to a conversation about more opportunities to build public housing and renew public housing on community facilities land across the city.

Australian public service—impact of relocations

MR STEEL: The federal Liberal government’s latest attack on Canberra involves actively removing agencies like the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority from this city and calling for bids to rip other agencies out of their traditional home in the capital. My question is to the Chief Minister: how significant is the contribution made by commonwealth agencies to the Canberra economy?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Steel for the question. It is very clear that the commonwealth is a significant contributor to economic activity in the territory. In fact over the past five years around 60 per cent of the territory’s state final demand has come from commonwealth contributions. This comes most significantly through the employment of tens of thousands of Canberrans. But it also comes through spending engaged in by commonwealth agencies on things like rent, equipment, supplies and professional services. This is spending that these agencies do here in Canberra because they are based here in Canberra. If you relocate those agencies out of our city then of course that activity will be relocated with it.

Opposition members interjecting

MR BARR: What that means for the 26,000 small, medium and large businesses that operate in the territory, that employ local people and that provide a very diverse range of goods and services for the community and to the commonwealth government is that they will suffer. And that is something that I would have thought would be of concern to everyone in this place. But, judging by the interjections of those opposite, they are unconcerned about this. That reflects very poorly on them.

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