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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

ACT Election 2020: The leaders speak

Ahead of the ACT election on Saturday 17 October, Canberra Weekly invited the leaders of the two major parties – ACT Labor’s Andrew Barr and Canberra Liberals’ Alistair Coe – to outline their plans for the Territory.

Op-ed by Andrew Barr, ACT Labor leader

The ACT Government has outlined a four-year, $4.9 billion jobs and economic recovery plan to assist in Canberra’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the greatest economic and public health challenge that the Territory has ever faced.

The decisions we are all taking right now, in our personal lives and our professional lives, are significant. These decisions have, through the initial stages of the pandemic, resulted in a low infection rate in the Territory. 

Our public health response has, and always will, take precedence in how the ACT Government continues to support the Canberra community.

But right now, we have to display resilience and agility in how the ACT Government works with the non-government sectors to restore growth and protect local jobs. 

We believe that the best way to help households through this period is to do what we can to keep people employed.

Having a job means more than paying the mortgage or rent, and it means more than being able to put food on the table. It provides meaning, structure, connection and opportunity in people’s lives.

It also means that they can contribute to our community, and keep other people employed too.

I know a big part of my job is to help protect Canberra jobs.

In delivering this plan, the Government aims to grow Canberra’s employment base to more than 250,000 jobs by 2025. 

Our plan features an ambitious infrastructure investment program, that funds projects varied in size, to protect and create jobs now and into the future. 

We will build the infrastructure a growing city needs, including an expanded Canberra Hospital, new and expanded schools in growing suburbs, more investment in new public housing and a state-of-the-art CIT facility in Woden.

We will invest in growing emerging industries and continue to support innovation by creating and shaping future markets. This investment will include targeted skills development and partnering with our world-leading tertiary sector to train the workforce of the future.

Our Plan outlines how the ACT Government will increase employment. Our city relies on the public services the Government provides, and now more than ever we need to grow our capacity. 

Maintaining confidence in non-government sectors is also critical to Canberra’s future. This Plan outlines how the Government intends to support and enable employment growth in areas such as tertiary education, renewable energy, innovation, arts and defence industries. 

The pandemic isn’t over, and the economic impacts will be felt for generations. However, in these uncertain times, ACT Government is delivering the right plan to support Canberra’s economic recovery and protect local jobs.

Op-ed by Alistair Coe, Canberra Liberals leader

Your choice will decide Canberra’s future. In less than six weeks, Canberrans will make a choice that will determine the future of our city. That’s why your choice could not be more important. After years of increasing taxes and declining services, we need a fresh vision to take Canberra forward with lower taxes and better services.  

That’s why I am so passionate about making Canberra the best place to live, work and raise a family so everyone can get ahead. Canberrans pay world class taxes; they should receive world class services. Unfortunately, on so many fronts, Canberra is falling behind. Children are waiting four years to see a health specialist, we have the lowest maths and literacy outcomes in our schools, rates and rents are soaring, we have rapidly rising levels of homelessness and our tree canopy has been reduced.  

What motivates me and what motivates my team is helping everyone get ahead by making Canberra more affordable for everyone and delivering better services that families rely on. That’s why we have a positive vision for lower taxes and better services. It’s that vision and a fundamental belief that every Canberran matters and should be able to get ahead that drives the Canberra Liberals. That’s why our policies are focused on reducing pressures on Canberrans and doing what we can to help them get ahead.   

Because we think cost-of-living pressures should be reduced, we’ve committed to freeze rates for four years to reduce cost-of-living pressures.  

Because we want to make sure the Bush Capital lives up to its name, we’re committed to plant and care for 1 million trees over the next decade.  

Because we want Canberra to be the most liveable city in the world, we’re committed to protect Green Space right across the city, including places like West Basin and the Curtin Horse Paddocks.  

Because we want to make sure our schools are the best and safest learning environments, we’re committed to bolstering school maintenance so that kids in our schools have the infrastructure they deserve, regardless of whether it’s an old or a new building.  

Because we want parents to have peace of mind, we’re committed to bringing back dedicated school buses and making drop-off and pick-up zones safer with flashing lights.   

And because we want to ensure every Canberran has the opportunities to work and live in Canberra, we will make Canberra the best place to do business to turbocharge our economy through the COVID-19 recovery. It’s these real and practical measures that will future-proof our City, reduce pressures on families and local business and help more Canberrans get ahead. Over the coming weeks as we release our full suite of policies, we will prove that only a Canberra Liberals Government will deliver lower taxes and better services so everyone can get ahead.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in these ACT election 2020 articles by ACT Labor Leader Andrew Barr and Canberra Liberals Leader Alistair Coe are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Canberra Weekly. These opinion pieces have not been edited or fact checked by Canberra Weekly.

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