Why the ACT budgets matters - promoting fairness and protecting local jobs

2013 budget press conference_resized for FB
 
Our budget is not only about building and transforming Canberra, but also of holding to the deep convictions of our government – promoting fairness and protecting jobs.

It’s a budget that not only benefits from the smart economic management of ACT Labor over many years, but also creates capacity for the delivery of transformative infrastructure projects and major policy reforms into the future.

The government is committed to creating a city with strength and prosperity for the long term – this is what we took to the last election and what the forward-looking ACT community expects of us.

That is why the budget includes funding for 70 per cent of our election commitments and delivers the next stage of reforms for a fairer and more efficient tax system.

Canberrans also expect us to respond to the challenges of the times – not least the buffeting our economy has taken through contracting federal government spending, and the drain on confidence created by the promises of the federal opposition.

And that is why the budget has a strong focus on maintaining confidence: in our housing and construction industries, in our growing health, education and ICT sectors, and in thousands of Canberra households.

Our track record shows we can and will keep making this great city even better, and the 2013-14 Budget lays out a plan for Canberra as we move into our second century.

Delivering on a vision for Canberra

The government has a vision for what Canberra can be – we believe in creating a city where public services and infrastructure are world class, and creating an environment where the private sector and the community both thrive.

With $1.3 billion allocated for infrastructure and capital projects over the next four years, support for our construction sector and money for transformational infrastructure projects, the 2013-14 budget will deliver urban renewal and support our economy.

Major infrastructure cannot be built overnight, and it cannot be built without proper planning and development, which is why the measures in this budget are part of a long term plan.

An economy cannot be completely restructured over night, which is why we are delivering tax reform incrementally and investing strategically in industry diversification under the Growth, Diversification and Jobs framework.

The government fully understands the ACT’s place in the regional, national and global economies. We understand that responsible economic management is about careful planning and decision making over the long term.

Healthier and smarter

Our investments in health and education services and infrastructure reflect the government’s absolute commitment to the health and wellbeing of the Canberra community.

We are relatively young community, but we are growing and we are ageing. That’s why we are looking ahead and investing to make sure Canberra continues to enjoy a world class health system.

The overall investment in health in this budget is $1.3 billion. This funding will deliver more services, more beds, shorter waiting times and more jobs for health professionals.

ACT Health’s workforce will grow by 131 full time positions, which, combined with a $45 million investment in elective surgery and emergency departments will reduce the time people spend waiting for treatment, whether it’s for a much-needed ear nose and throat procedure or for a broken arm on a Saturday morning.

We are delivering new infrastructure across our major health facilities.

At The Canberra Hospital:

  • 16 new inpatient beds
  • $4.1 million to meet growing demand for outpatient services
  • $4.6 million for cancer outpatient services at the Canberra Region Cancer Centre, which is due for completion later this year
  • $40.8 million to deliver the next stage of the hospital’s redevelopment, which will include design and approvals for major new clinical buildings and an extension to the emergency department which will include a dedicated paediatric area, and
  • $6.3 million for additional services and three new beds at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

At Calvary Hospital:

  • 15 new beds, including a four-bed stroke service unit
  • $1.3 million for design of a multi-storey car park
  • Funding to operate eight rapid assessment unit beds
  • Funding for hospital in the home places, and
  • Funding for the construction of the northside birthing centre.

 

We will take the nurse-led walk-in centre model to Belconnen and Tuggeranong, as we promised to do, with funding of $951,000.

And we will deliver the next stage of planning and design for the University of Canberra Public Hospital with funding of $8.2 million.

Once again, the government is looking to the future with this project. The University of Canberra Public Hospital will be designed to respond to growing demand for sub-acute rehabilitation, aged care and mental health services.

Being connected to the University of Canberra will also weave clinical education and research into the running of the new hospital.

This is one of many strategic investments that will help our thriving tertiary education sector continue to grow.

We will continue to invest in our universities, as employers and as exporters, for example through the $2 million StudyCanberra initiative and new state of the art facilities at the ANU and UC.

The budget also includes $1.5 million for the new Centenary Chair in Cancer Research and $5 million for a new sports precinct at the University of Canberra.

Game changing reforms in health and education

Despite the constraints on the budget, the government has made the savings and allocated funding for the roll-out of two nation building reforms.

We are proud to join with the federal government to lead the way in the next great wave of Labor reforms.

The beginning of DisabilityCare Australia will be a defining moment of 2013-14. The ACT was the first jurisdiction to sign up and this budget includes $5.5 million over two years which will combine with $10.6 from the Commonwealth to prepare for the roll-out.

In school education, we will join again with the federal government to deliver new funding to ACT schools under the National Plan for School Improvement – a joint investment of $190 million over the next six school years will make the best education system in Australia even better.

In the 2013-14 budget, the government is working to make Canberrans healthier and smarter, investing in services that deliver the best value for money and fostering opportunity.

The building and transformation of Canberra is an evolving process. We have laid the foundation for the next four years and beyond.

 

The full budget papers can be found at: http://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/budget-2013-2014