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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 August 2017) . . Page.. 2707 ..

We can all remember the Chief Minister’s own Commissioner for International Engagement and all the effort that he made in promoting the convention centre. And now he has him in his back pocket. He has put him on the payroll as a public service employee, taken him out of this place and parachuted him in there. Let us not detract from the Auditor-General’s critical words about the process by which that appointment happened. No sooner does the greatest advocate of the convention centre leave this place and start working directly for the Chief Minister than the project gets dropped like a hot potato. It is very fascinating. There are many people in the business community and, more broadly, the Canberra Business Chamber, who are very disappointed in the Chief Minister’s attitude towards pursuing great projects that will bring a lot of benefit to the territory.

As I said earlier in this debate, the government is keen to spruik the money it is spending, the new programs it is launching and the problems it is seeking to fix, but we all need to remember that the problems this government seeks to fix are a product of its policy failures over the last 16 years. There has never been an honest assessment of the progress being made. Instead, if the figures are trending in the wrong direction they simply move the goalposts or create a new target. This simply is dishonest. This parliament deserves better and deserves to be treated with more respect. More importantly, the taxpayers and the ratepayers of the ACT deserve to be treated with a bit more integrity.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.17): I rise to speak on the work of the Gambling and Racing Commission within Access Canberra. The government has continued to deliver on its key strategic policy priorities for the racing and gaming portfolio, as have been outlined in the parliamentary agreement for the Ninth Legislative Assembly.

In this budget Canberrans will see commitments to ensure gambling operators’ compliance with legislation, as well as the ending of the greyhound industry in the territory, with support made available to those who are affected. Work is well underway on delivering on these commitments. However, as I announced in June, and in line with community values and expectations, the government is committed to ending the greyhound racing industry in the territory. Greyhound racing and trialling will be prohibited in the territory, with the closure of the racing industry occurring by 30 June 2018.

As outlined in the budget, grant funding for the greyhound racing industry in the ACT ceased on 30 June 2017, with funding of $1.033 million in 2017-18 being redirected to the transition program to assist workers to re-skill, as well as making arrangements to rehome and care for the greyhounds. This work has already started. These reforms are a priority for the government. We are committed to continuing to work with industry participants, and the government has invited those people who will be affected to contact the task force to find out more about the support that will be available to them. I also look forward to providing more on this next week in a ministerial statement on ending the greyhound racing industry.

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