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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Greens earn three portfolios in new governing agreement

After 10 days of negotiations, the ACT Greens and ACT Labor have released a blueprint for the 10th Legislative Assembly, uniting behind additional social housing funding and a faster transition away from gas. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr described the agreement, which has a new title of parliamentary and governing agreement, as an “auspicious occasion”.

Mr Barr said inter-party negotiations had produced a “comprehensive document and work plan” for the next four years, based on shared values and priorities.

“That aligns in a way that honours the policies we took to the election and reflects the spirit of cooperation between the two parties.”

He said the new coalition’s representation of 16 out of 25 seats was the ACT’s “largest ever pool of governing ministers”.

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the agenda for next four years was based on stable government, climate change, social and public housing, economic recovery, and economic inequality.

“Some people ask me why this agreement takes so long. But I think it’s valuable to spend the time being clear on the shared agenda,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Canberrans want us to come together and get on with governing.

“We’re pleased to play a constructive role in cabinet with three Greens members having ministries.”

Mr Rattenbury announced an additional $18 million for public and social housing, which Mr Barr said would be “challenging and ambitious” to implement.

In another win for the Greens, new housing developments will not be connected to gas.

Mr Barr said the issue of “cultural diversity in government” was addressed in the governing document.

“There will be more active measures from the government in the agreement as to how we can better support multicultural communities,” Mr Barr said.

“I think the parties can do better in terms of who they nominate for public office.

“The Labor Party is very conscious of that and we were very disappointed that Deepak (former MLA Deepak-Raj Gupta) missed out in Yerrabi.”

Mr Barr said the $125 million in infrastructure spending in the agreement “stuck largely” to existing projects. However, he said the Commonwealth was now providing half the money needed for the Molongo Bridge, which freed up the spending for public and social housing.

Mr Barr said Labor held a caucus meeting today (2 November) and voted on ministerial positions.

The division of portfolios will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday 3 November.

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