Strengthening our city

31 July 2018

This morning I outlined the Government's legislative priorities for the Spring of 2018.

Below is my full speech. 


Strengthening our city and supporting our community

Thank you Madam Speaker. I am pleased to outline the Government’s policy and legislative priorities for the second half of 2018.

The Government will focus on strengthening our city and supporting our community.

We are delivering new local schools and more places for kids at our existing schools.

We are strengthening care in our hospitals and rolling out better health services for Canberrans across our city.

We are increasing investment in services for our city and suburbs, and boosting our police and emergency services to keep Canberrans safe.

Across our community, we are delivering more places for women to seek safe and secure accommodation; we’re working on a new housing strategy to lay out the next phase of our investment in public, community and affordable housing; and we’re investing in a dedicated team to improve our adoption processes.

As a progressive government, we will continue to support Canberra to become even more inclusive, progressive and connected.

A strong economy

Madam Speaker, we’re well positioned to invest in strengthening our community and building a better Canberra because of our strong economic management.

Our unemployment rate is the lowest in the country, thousands of new jobs are being created each year, and our economy continues to diversify – attracting new workers in industries that will help Canberra over the longer term.

The Budget I handed down in June is in balance – this year and across the forward estimates. That means we can meet the city’s needs today while investing for Canberra’s growth into the future.

This includes meeting needs like new and expanded hospital facilities and more Walk in Centres, a more connected and efficient transport network, the delivery of the light rail network, and boosting the equality of educational opportunity for young Canberrans.


2018 spring legislation program

Madam Speaker, the Assembly will consider a range of important pieces of legislation during the second half of this year to continue making our city more inclusive, progressive and connected.

An inclusive community supports each other. Whether it’s protecting our children from institutional child abuse, or limiting the harm of gaming machines, the Government will strengthen our support of Canberrans.

We have been strong and decisive in our commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

We want to change the status quo, to effect cultural change within organisations and to ensure the failures of the past cannot continue.

During the Spring sitting periods, across two Bills, the Government will move to implement the recommendations to protect Canberra’s children.

Inclusive communities stand up for those who need help the most.

We will ensure more Canberrans who are involved in motor vehicle accidents get the care and support they need.

We have undertaken a significant community consultation process to design reforms to the ACT’s compulsory third party insurance scheme.

The citizen’s jury has given their verdict, and, as promised, the Government will seek to implement their decision by introducing legislation on CTP reform by the end of this year.

We’ll also help people be included in society through improving the effectiveness of the ACT Restorative Justice Scheme, and responding to the recommendations of the legislative review of the Working with Vulnerable People Scheme, taking into account the Royal Commission’s recommendations and the implementation of nationally consistent worker registration arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Progressive communities think differently. They challenge received wisdom and face new challenges with optimism and goodwill.

During the Spring sittings, the progressive government Canberrans voted for will continue to lead the nation through major reforms.

We will continue our plan to reduce the number of poker machines in the Territory to 4,000.

This week, as Treasurer, I will introduce legislation to implement a new Betting Operations Tax to ensure major betting operations pay their fair share of tax in the jurisdiction their customers live in.  

Later in the year Minister Ramsay will reform our gaming machine community contributions scheme, ensuring that these contributions go to those in the community that need it most.

Progressive societies tackle climate change. With our city less than two years away from becoming 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity, we’re looking beyond 2020.

Minister Rattenbury will introduce legislation to bring forward our target of achieving zero net emissions by five years from 2050 to 2045. This is a world-leading target and something Canberrans want action on.

Madam Speaker, this Government is progressive in how we think about the rights of local workers. While the Federal Government cuts the rights of workers, we will stand up for working Canberrans.

This week, Minister Stephen-Smith will move to ensure the ACT Government awards contracts to businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards through the Secure Local Jobs Code.

This is an important reform. Workers deserve fair pay and secure entitlements. They have the right to organise and be represented by their union. We will ensure the companies and organisations we award work to uphold those rights.

During this sitting period we will also introduce the necessary legislation to support the Territory in becoming a self-insurer under Comcare.

Self-insurance will streamline workers’ compensation claims currently managed by Comcare and enable us to support ACT Public Sector employees better, with the same entitlements, but a simpler system for injured workers.

Madam Speaker, connected societies work best when people are well informed and have equality in services and life opportunities.

Housing tenants will be better connected to important information about their tenancy agreements.

A Bill to be introduced by the Attorney-General will improve protections for both residents and landlords, and will reform issues of security of tenure, pet ownership and rent increases.



Madam Speaker, Canberrans voted for a progressive and inclusive government in a connected city.  

We will continue to deliver on our commitments.