The 2017-18 ACT Budget - delivering a better Canberra
Just as we promised, this Budget starts renewing Canberra with investment in our schools, hospitals, infrastructure and public places.
We are delivering better health care when Canberrans need it by kicking off our 10-Year Health Plan. We are investing in better schools and support for our teachers and better transport for Canberra with investment in Stage Two of Canberra’s city wide light rail network, linking Woden to the city centre.
Since 2014, when the ACT Government stood up to address the Mr Fluffy crisis in our city, we have improved the Budget by $400 million. Canberra now has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country with one of the lowest unemployment rates, and we are continuing on a clear path back to Budget balance in 2018-19.
Delivering our 10-Year Health Plan
We went to the election with a 10-Year Health Plan to ensure Canberra’s health care keep getting better as our city grows.
This Budget kicks off that plan with new investment in health infrastructure as well as community, primary and specialist care. Our $443 million new investment through this Budget builds on the $1.6 billion the ACT Government already invests in healthcare and wellbeing for Canberrans each year.
We are delivering $236 million for the development of the major Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency Centre, as well as almost $70 million to expand the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. We are also meeting our commitment by building and planning three new Walk in Centres in our suburbs, and incentivising more bulk billing GP services in Canberra’s south.
We will invest in preventative care with a new strategy and approach to keeping Canberrans healthy, as well as free Year 7 health checks in schools to identify kids at risk of chronic diseases and mental illness.
Better schools for our kids
With this Budget, the ACT Government is investing to deliver better schools for our kids. Our $210 million new investment in local schools comes on top of the $1.2 billion we spend on our schools each year
We are investing in schools right across Canberra, with $100 million for infrastructure upgrades in our local schools. We are planning for the growth of Canberra’s north by expanding Gungahlin schools to create room for another 844 students.
Through this Budget, we are also providing better support for our teachers, with 25 scholarships for teachers to gain post-graduate qualifications in the emerging STEM fields, school assistants so that teachers can focus on what they do best and more school psychologists.
Better public transport
Over the past four years, the Government has worked hard to deliver on our commitment to start the construction of Stage One of Canberra’s light rail network.
With Stage One well underway, we are getting started on Stage Two of the project – linking Woden to the city centre. This Budget invests in planning, route design and early procurement for this transformative project, which is creating jobs for thousands of Canberrans and delivering a truly integrated public transport network for our city.
A better, stronger economy for Canberra
Since the peak of the Mr Fluffy crisis in 2014, the ACT Government has improved the Budget position by $400 million.
We have achieved this by supporting a strong and diverse economy for Canberra. We have made the right investments in infrastructure projects that have delivered jobs and economic growth in the Territory. We have backed our tertiary education and research sector to grow and we have opened Canberra to the world, encouraging our local businesses to sell their goods and services to international markets.
With our economy growing at one of the fastest rates in Australia and our solid fiscal management, the Government remains on a clear path to return the Budget to balance in 2018-19.
To ensure we can meet the demands of Canberra’s future, we are also continuing to develop a more sustainable tax system by abolishing inefficient and unfair taxes. Since 2012, the Government has reduced the stamp duty payable on a $500,000 home by $7,700 – a further saving of $660 from 2016-17. With the heavy lifting now behind us, the next five years of the ACT’s tax reform will see the Government reduce our stamp duty levels to the lowest in the country and phase out commercial duty for properties under $1.5 million entirely.
With this Budget, we are laying down an ambitious agenda for Canberra over the next four years. By delivering the renewal we promised, the Government is working every day to ensure this city keeps getting better for all Canberrans.