When I was first elected Chief Minister I said that the government I lead will focus on the things that matter for Canberra families—health, education, community and municipal services.
In our first year of government, through our first budget, I am proud to say that we’ve started funding more that 70% of our election commitments.
We have a plan to build a stronger economy, protect local jobs and create fairness and opportunities for all Canberrans.
We are proud to be delivering important reforms like DisabilityCare but it’s also our smaller programs and policies which show our government’s values and priorities at work.
This blog post outlines some of our achievements in our first year of government. We know there’s more to do and are focused on building long term prosperity for Canberra’s future.
Canberra is a great city – we have a rich natural environment, world class schools and universities, quality infrastructure, Australia’s national cultural institutions and an economy fueled by knowledge and innovation.
We are a great city but need to do more each and every day as our city grows and our place in our region and nation becomes even more important.
Creating opportunity and a more liveable city
- Increased the First Home Owner Grant and the Home Buyer Concession Scheme – together these can save eligible buyers more than $25,000 on a new home. This is in addition to further cuts to stamp duty and insurance tax.
- Delivered funding for more police to make our roads safer - an additional 8 police and 4 dedicated vehicles to help prevent fatalities and serious crashes on our roads.
- Establishing the Industrial Magistrates court, with the bill introduced in August and scheduled for debate in October 2013.
- Introduced the Marriage Equality Bill in September which is scheduled for debate in October 2013.
- Signed up to DisabilityCare, the new National Disability Insurance Scheme, to deliver increased funding and better support for people with a disability and their families.
- Provided $7.6 million for Common Ground to create more affordable accommodation options, provide permanent homes and support to help disadvantaged Canberrans improve their lives.
A stronger and more diverse economy
- Launched the City Plan consultation and City to the Lake plan to provide a long term plan to deliver world-class entertainment, cultural, sporting and residential precincts in Civic and surrounds.
- Announced several major new housing developments to support local development and ensure there are housing options across Canberra. Since the election we’ve announced Riverview, in west Belconnen, Lawson, in central Belconnen, Campbell section 5, and South quay in Tuggeranong.
- Delivered new lights at Manuka Oval as well as the biggest program of sporting events in Canberra’s history during our centenary year. We’ve proved that Canberra is capable of hosting high-profile sporting events which has put us in a great position to secure future events.
- Cutting red tape for businesses and community sector.
- Supporting ACT businesses, and local jobs, by increasing the weighting given to local small and medium sized businesses when they’re tendering for ACT Government contracts.
- Funded and launched StudyCanberra to promote Canberra as an education destination to grow our education and knowledge economy.
Being a healthier and smarter community
- Launched the Towards Zero Growth initiative to increase healthy lifestyle choices across a range of areas including schools, communities, workplaces and homes.
- Expanded the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to boost available bed spaces by eight in the ED and seven in the ICU and provide extra floor space for emergency treatments.
- Funded the Centenary Chair for Cancer Research to enhance collaborative projects between clinicians and researchers.
- Provided extra funding for Calvary birth centre to deliver two state of the art birthing rooms, kitchenette and a modern waiting area to accommodate families.
- Funded the mobile dental clinic to provide increased access to dental services for people who can’t travel to regular dental clinics.
- Delivered an additional $3 million per annum into elective surgery with 11,628 operations completed last year - up 2.3% on the previous year. We were the only Australian jurisdiction to meet all nine of our elective surgery waiting time targets.
- Building the new $51.3 million Belconnen Community Health Centre which will open in November. The centre includes a new nurse-led Walk-in-Centre.
- Funded a new specialised paediatric treatment space and waiting area within the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department.
- Investing record amounts in health infrastructure including the new University of Canberra Public Hospital planning, Cancer centre construction, Canberra Hospital redevelopment, Tuggeranong Community Health Centre and walk in centres.
- Opened two new schools – Neville Bonner and Franklin and funding a new school in Molonglo. We’re also upgrading Belconnen High School.
- Signed the National Education Reform Agreement to ensure long term improvements for our schools and fairer funding growth for all schools in the ACT – Government, Independent and Catholic.
Focusing on urban renewal as our city grows
- Progressing Canberra’s light rail network – Capital Metro. The Capital Metro Agency has been established, a Board Chairman and Project Director have been appointed, and development of a Light Rail Integration study is underway.
- Opened the National Arboretum along with the children’s pod playground and the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion.
- Upgraded the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, which is near completion, and commenced a feasibility and design study for stage 2 of Belconnen Arts Centre.
- Delivered $2.8 million to progress the establishment of arts hubs in Kingston and Ainslie, as well as undertake refurbishment work at Gorman House Arts Centre.
- Provided $1.5 million to fund five new park ranger positions, and continued funding for the Indigenous Ranger position.
- Increased funding to protect and enhance the biodiversity of Canberra’s woodlands, parks and nature reserves.
- Increased funding to expand and improve our bike path network and footpaths across Canberra.
We will continue to set priorities annually to progress each of these objectives and keep Canberrans informed about our progress.
The ACT government has a clear vision for a city where public services and infrastructure are world class and where our economy and community both thrive.
We are a community which prides itself on fairness and opportunity for all and an ambitious people, eager to support and build on these qualities as our city grows.
One year on we would like to thank all the people who have supported the government to achieve so much - in particular the people of the ACT whose interests this government seeks to represent every day. There’s more work to do and we are getting on with the job of making our city even better.