Page 2127 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2017

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business size. We want small businesses to become bigger businesses and employ more Canberrans, and we want more people to feel confident in starting a business in the capital. However, at present, there are a lot of barriers in place. Businesses must be confident if they are to make investments in our city, and this involves the removal of nuisance regulations.

The Canberra Liberals recognise that education is a key driver of employment, wellbeing and democracy. We will be playing an active role in debate about the future of education. The Auditor-General’s report last week shows that changes need to be made. Unfortunately I do not think the government appreciates the seriousness of the problem or what needs to be done to fix it.

There are three crucial areas that need to be improved: how our schools are run, the curriculum and support of teachers. We need to bring far more thought to education and not rely on the old response of just spending more money. We need to ask questions about all aspects of schooling. Are our schools organised in the most effective way? Is the curriculum appropriate? Are we empowering teachers or burdening them with administration? Are we empowering schools to create a strong and healthy culture? To answer these and many questions, we need to consider educational research and the systems in place in other parts of the world but we also need to listen to the experience and insight of a wide range of people, including parents, teachers, employers and universities who see the outcomes of our education system in their students, staff and children.

I turn to another key part of the budget, health. In April this year, services at the Canberra Hospital were closed down because this government failed to undertake urgent electrical repairs. The switchboard fire meant that the hospital became a scene of chaos, while critical patients had to be rushed across to Calvary. For years ACT Labor has allowed the hospital to crumble, and the incident in April is just another example of the mismanagement of the health system. It is not a matter of if another disaster will occur at the Canberra Hospital; it is a matter of when.

When lives are at stake, there is no room for negligence. We need to make sure that our health infrastructure is well maintained and resources are optimised. We need to make sure that our clinicians are in a workplace where they can work to their potential.

The delivery of local services is critical. Road and footpath maintenance, safe parks and green spaces, playgrounds, rubbish collection and a host of other services are central to our daily lives. We depend on accessible public transport that serves all of Canberra, and frequently.

The government needs to listen to residents’ concerns about the state of local services. However, this government does not listen to the community and certainly does not consult. Over the past few months, and without public consultation, the Barr government has imposed housing developments in Woden, Weston Creek and Tuggeranong. The government never listened to the communities in Mawson, Holder, Chapman and Wright. It never actually consulted them.

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