Page 3208 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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(b) investing an additional $210 million in our education system to upgrade and expand the capacity of ACT schools;

(c) delivering $443 million for better health infrastructure for Canberra, including the construction of new Walk-in Centres in Gungahlin, the Weston Creek region and the Inner North; and

(d) investing in renewable energy which will assist with the transition towards a low-emission energy future and provide stability to energy prices; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) continue to invest in vital infrastructure, such as Light Rail, so as to ensure that Canberra can continue to accommodate this population growth; and

(b) support investment in health and education to ensure that Canberrans continue to receive world class services.

Canberra is a vibrant, welcoming and progressive city. Our community is part of what makes Canberra such a great place to live. The Canberra community is growing, with more and more people choosing to make our city their home. This growth presents amazing opportunities for Canberra. However, grasping these opportunities will require careful planning. Our government has always been forward thinking and I think the current works pipeline is evidence of this. However, there is always more to be done. It is vital that the government continues to commit to Canberra’s future by building vital infrastructure now, before it is needed, before it is too late.

The most recent census demonstrated that the ACT is the fastest growing state or territory in the country. We have seen our population increase from roughly 357,000 people in 2011 to over 406,000 people in 2016. Last year alone our population grew by 7,000 people and it is projected to grow at 1.5 per cent per year over the next decade. That is why this Labor government has provided $2.8 billion in the 2017-18 budget to continue to fund and build infrastructure for Canberra. These numerous projects will revitalise Canberra’s suburbs, reduce congestion on our roads, improve ageing infrastructure across the city and, handily, create jobs.

The strong growth in population is particularly obvious in my electorate of Yerrabi, which is the fastest growing region in the ACT. Over the past five years the Gungahlin region has grown by almost 24,000 people. This growth will continue as the new suburbs of Jacka, Moncrieff, Taylor and Throsby are developed. Increased density has led to the development of new businesses and a vibrant town centre.

This increase in population is not without its challenges. As anyone who needs to get into the city before 9 am from Gungahlin can attest, this growth has tested our existing transport infrastructure. The government’s current investment in transport, in particular the duplication of Horse Park Drive and Gundaroo Drive as well as building the first stage of the light rail network, will alleviate this pressure.

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