Standing up for Canberra

Delivering for Canberra - Adjournment 2011

I rise tonight to speak about the investments the Gillard government has made, and is continuing to make, in my electorate of Canberra and in the ACT more generally. Since being elected in August last year, I have seen the benefits of a significant amount of investment in the electorate and across Canberra which is ensuring that Canberrans, like all other Australians, have the infrastructure, skills and resources needed to grab every opportunity to grow and prosper in the future.

Being such a strong supporter of education, I have been honoured to attend many Building the Education Revolution ceremonies and to see the modern state-ofthe-art facilities built by the schools in my electorate. Some of the facilities funded through the BER program include: $3.2 million for a new library and renovated classrooms at Canberra Grammar School; $2.3 million at Taylor Primary School for better classrooms, a refitted canteen, library and refurbishment of the front foyer; $3.2 million at Monash Primary School for a state-of-the-art multi-purpose hall; $3.2 million at Holy Family Parish School for classrooms for music and Indonesian studies, a new ICT lab and a better library; $2.2 million for new classrooms at Caroline Chisholm Primary School; $2.65 million for a new multi-purpose building at Theodore Primary School; and $3.3 million for a multi-purpose hall at Garran Primary School, which also houses part of the government's successful Active After-school Communities program—to name just a few. Without exception, I have been greeted by teachers, staff, parents, grandparents and, most importantly, students who have been delighted with the investment made by the Gillard government in their learning infrastructure for the 21st century.

The government has also invested $5.7 million for a trades training centre at St Mary MacKillop College in Tuggeranong, which is acting as the lead school in conjunction with St Clare's College, St Francis Xavier College and Merici College. The centre will provide a certificate III in hospitality. This practical program will help local students and boost local productivity. It will mean that we will not have to import skills, particularly trades, because we will be able to grow our own, which is particularly important for a place like Canberra. I have said time and again in this chamber that Canberra suffers a skills shortage in every area but community pharmacy. The trade training centres and our major budget investment in apprenticeships will help overcome that shortage.

The government has also invested in health care in Canberra. Canberra has one of the lowest rates of bulk-billing GPs in the country, so I am glad the Gillard government has committed $15 million for a GP superclinic, for which consultations are well underway. In the current budget, the Gillard government also committed $2.3 million to improve critical outreach and health training.

The Gillard government is also investing in road infrastructure, including more than $277,000 in funding for black spot eradication in Tuggeranong and Symonston and $18 million for the duplication of the Monaro Highway. In all, through this budget, the Gillard government will invest $82.2 million for road infrastructure in the ACT region.

The Gillard government is also contributing to some of the great institutions in this city. When Canberra was established as a national capital nearly 100 years ago it was planned to perform five key roles. It was to be the seat of government; the location of the national parliament and executive; the centre of national administration, which took nearly 70 years to achieve; the symbol of Australian national life and a location for memorials and ceremonial events; and the location for national institutions in research, education, arts, music and sports. I am delighted that the Gillard government has increased the High Court's funding by $6.1 million, invested $33.9 million over four years in the Australian War Memorial, invested $1.7 million to start planning for a permanent exhibition in honour of the centenary of Anzac and invested $20 million in the National Arboretum, $42 million for Constitution Drive and $6 million for Canberra's centenary.

The Gillard government is also looking after some of Canberra's most vulnerable people. Despite what many may think, we do have pockets of disadvantage in this city. The Gillard government has invested $5.6 billion in social housing initiatives across Australia, and millions of dollars here in Canberra. It has invested in units for older people wanting to downsize, freeing up larger properties to house more families more quickly. It is a great initiative. I have been the member for Canberra for only eight months, and already I have seen significant investment in my electorate and the ACT.

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