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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3469 ..

Everyone should lead a happy and healthy life. Our government is investing over $7.8 billion over four years on health, including 4,000 more elective surgeries, progressing the development of SPIRE and expanding the hospital in the home program. I know the residents of my electorate of Yerrabi are very excited about the opening of the nurse-led walk-in centre in the Gungahlin town centre, which will divert minor injuries away from the ED. The nurse-led walk-in centres are a wonderful innovation, and I look forward to seeing more of them across the territory.

Tourism is a massive growth area of our economy. The government’s clear vision for Canberra and focus on diversifying our economy has led to a growing number of tourists visiting Canberra. Currently 16,400 Canberrans work in the tourism industry. This area can continue to grow as visitors come to see not only our fantastic established events, festivals and cultural institutions but new initiatives as well.

The growth in small local businesses as well as our huge variety of national cultural institutions in natural and beautiful surroundings has also contributed to the rise of Canberra as a popular destination. Lonely Planet did not name Canberra in the top three of its cities to visit in 2018 for nothing. Improvements to Stromlo Forest Park and the Arboretum will also ensure that other major events can be held in these areas. On top of this is $4.1 million over four years to grow visitor numbers through business events and a new events fund.

Our 2018-1 9 budget invests in Canberra’s dynamic arts community, focusing on both local, grassroots artists and internationally renowned ones. Our government is upgrading our arts and cultural facilities with $1.5 million in upgrades for the Canberra Theatre Centre; $1.2 million to start the design process for the creation of a new Canberra theatre complex; $785,000 for conservation of our historic homesteads, such as Lanyon Homestead, Calthorpes’ House and Mugga Mugga cottage; and $700,000 to support new approaches to exhibitions at the Belconnen Art Centre during development of stage 2, building on our $15 million investment in its expansion through last year’s budget. On top of this there is almost $1 million to help support the community engagement of local artists.

Madam Deputy Speaker, as you can see, the future of Canberra is in safe hands. Our government is ensuring Canberra’s budget is economically sustainable without cutting funding from essential services. We believe we must invest in Canberra. Our progress in further diversifying Canberra’s economy is paying off. That is why our local economy is in such a good state even though the federal Liberal government is determined to try to further rip the guts out of Canberra’s federal public service and ignore Canberra completely when it comes to federal infrastructure projects. Our 2018 budget will help Canberra to continue to grow as an inclusive, fun, livable and progressive city we can all be proud of.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.06): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am in awe of Mr Pettersson’s enthusiasm for the budget. I am afraid I do not quite have as much enthusiasm for discussing it as he does. Mr Rattenbury and I will be restricting our comments to the budget debate, of which I note there is more to come tomorrow.

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