Page 3212 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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The work we are doing in this year’s budget to deliver infrastructure and services that will support the city’s growth comes on top of a significant level of infrastructure investment over the past 15 years. Since 2002 we have invested more than $5.6 billion in capital works for the city that have improved our city’s transport, health, education and municipal infrastructure, amongst other areas of investment.

We have also stepped up housing supply to ensure that there is a continued stream of new housing available and an appropriate mix of housing choices. For example, in the five years between 2011 and 2016, there were just under 7,000 new freestanding homes in the Canberra market. The 10 years previous to that, 2001 to 2011, saw a similar number. I want to reiterate that in the past five years we have delivered as many new freestanding homes as were delivered in the 10 years prior to 2011.

The census also highlights the great value of Canberra being open to the world and actively engaging with international markets. The three source countries for new migrants that have seen the most rapid growth are India, up 77 per cent since the 2011 census; China, up 72 per cent since the 2011 census; and the Philippines, up 57 per cent since that 2011 census. This has been driven particularly by our very strong tertiary education sector and shows that Canberra is increasingly coming to the world’s attention as a livable, interesting and thriving city. The government has a clear plan to continue to expand Canberra’s overseas footprint because we know that there are very significant economic, social and cultural benefits in doing so.

The 2016 census represents an opportunity to take stock of what we are getting right in planning for the city’s growth and where we have still got more work to do. Government will be drilling down into the fine detail of the data and insights provided by the census in finetuning our plans for the next budget and beyond, but the headline data show that the city is growing. The source of that growth is principally a natural increase. I do not think the causes of the natural increase are going to go out of fashion any time soon. We can expect that trend to continue. We will also continue to be an attractive destination for interstate and international migrants.

A vibrant community, a diverse multicultural community, is a good thing for our city. We support that approach, and the government will continue to plan for future population growth, to prepare our city for that growth and to support our community as our city continues to diversify.

I note Ms Le Couteur has circulated an amendment to this motion. I will indicate that the Labor Party will not be supporting that amendment. I would just make a couple of quick observations in relation to elements of the amendment. Certainly I agree that population growth does place additional pressure on infrastructure and will, of course, drive up demand for various services.

I think it is important to note, though, that in the context of federal financial relations in this country the extra population that our city has will be reflected in additional revenues. For example, the ACT’s share of the GST pool has in fact increased as a result of the new data available from the 2016 census. Yes, there are additional costs

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