Page 2657 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (11.23): I rise to acknowledge the good work of the Treasurer and the government in delivering ongoing economic growth and certainty for the future of all Canberrans. Whilst the statistics and numbers cited by Mr Barr are impressive, sometimes all those numbers can hide the real story as much as tell it. The real story is about giving people confidence that they can get the skills they need for jobs that are going to exist. The real story is about giving people the confidence that they can pay the mortgage next week and next year. The real story is about delivering for our community and giving them the confidence to be able to buy a house, raise a family and live with dignity.

Delivering economic development to a place like Canberra can sometimes be a pretty hard task. Some of the more important things are out of our control. The Reserve Bank controls interest rate rises. We are exposed to whatever silliness those across the lake impose through hiring policy, procurement policy and extreme industrial relations policies in the Australian public service. But this government believes that Canberrans can and should make our own economic luck, that we do not have to let this city get battered around by economic forces the way it has been in the past.

That is why the government has dedicated so much effort in this budget and those over the last term to economic diversification and development. Whether it is growing local tourism by attracting international flights, improving our skills base by encouraging more women into traditionally male-dominated trades or making it easier for new businesses to start up and thrive through red tape reform, this government takes growing and diversifying Canberra’s economy seriously. Diversifying the ACT economy away from the federal government is an enormous task, but by getting our infrastructure and skills programs right we will keep delivering economic development and growth into the future.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.25): I want to comment on the arts engagement element of the Chief Minister’s directorate at the moment. The most striking thing about the government’s arts engagement strategy is, quite frankly, that there is no strategy. Arts are included in the government’s list of priorities for 2017-18, making a series of motherhood statements about implementing policy in various areas. But this is not supported by the arts being identified as a strategic objective. There is no mention of arts in this context. Indeed, when I asked a question on notice about this, the then acting Minister for the Arts and Community Events made some nebulous statement about the arts being intrinsic in several objectives of other directorates.

Then there is the proposed ministerial advisory body for the arts: a bouquet to the minister for this initiative. The government has been directionless since it abolished the previous Cultural Council. And a bouquet to the minister for wanting to consult the arts community on the proposal through a series of roundtables! But what did he actually do? He invited expressions of interest from people interested in being involved and then selected just a lucky few to participate in this consultation.

Mr Assistant Speaker, you would excuse my scepticism that this is not real consultation. The minister has said that he will ensure diversity of participation across the sector but he is doing so by choosing people who, I think, will tell him what he

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