This Budget invests in Canberra's future.
The ACT Government is delivering the services and infrastructure needed to support our city through this challenging period and encourage growth in the future.
This will help our community, particularly the most vulnerable, our businesses and our households. And it will create and protect jobs.
There's no doubt the Territory faces a big economic challenge because of the Commonwealth's budget cuts. These cuts will hit our economy and the budget.
In response, the Government has chosen to invest in Canberra and support our community.
There has seldom been a more important time for the ACT Government to step up and take this approach.
Not doing so would cause unnecessary and heartless pain – for households, businesses and workers.
The Government's investment in Canberra will help maintain growth in our economy and support jobs, provide vital services and facilities, and deliver the transformative infrastructure needed for the long term.
The Budget provides a record amount of funding for health. Although the Commonwealth has slashed health funding to the ACT, the Territory Government is sustaining services to provide the level of care needed by Canberrans. Funding is increased for other priority areas, notably education, community and justice services, emergency services, municipal services, and roads and transport.
Growing the economy is also a priority.
Over the four years of this Budget, $2.5 billion has been allocated for infrastructure projects. This will boost job growth across the city and support new projects such as a new University of Canberra Public Hospital, the new Coombs school, a new CIT Campus in Tuggeranong, new road and light rail infrastructure, new cycling and walking paths, renewal of the Woden Town Centre, new public buildings like the Court Facilities project and Australia Forum Convention Centre, and the City to the Lake Project.
In addition, there is further support to help local businesses grow and create jobs.
The Budget continues to deliver important taxation reforms. Stamp duty, payroll tax and insurance duty are again being cut, to make taxes fairer, simpler and more efficient. And work continues to make our expenditure and revenue bases more sustainable.
The Government aims to balance the Budget over the economic cycle. While acknowledging the budget is in deficit this year, the Government has taken a specific policy decision to support the economy and our community ahead of returning to balance sooner by imposing harsh austerity policies.
In tough times, governments need to do what's right for their community. By investing in Canberra, this Budget provides the support our city needs, to meet the current challenges and to grow and prosper in the long term.
Andrew Barr MLA
Deputy Chief Minister and Treasurer