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Barr’s election pitch: Now is not the time to go backwards

Ian Bushnell 11 February 2020 79
Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr: a big infrastructure program, including light rail Stage 2A and the Canberra Hospital expansion, will be integral to the government’s re-election strategy. Photo: File.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr will launch his government’s re-election bid this afternoon with a blatantly political speech to the Legislative Assembly outlining its priorities for 2020.

The key priority will be to win Labor a sixth term in October and Mr Barr will tell voters, through the Assembly, that 2020 is the year they will be asked to “make a choice about our city’s direction for the first half of the decade”.

“Now is not the time to send our city backwards,” Mr Barr will say.

“Our growing city needs new and better public infrastructure. Our community expects world-class public services and they need good secure jobs in the future. And this government is committed to delivering just that.”

Mr Barr will set out the government’s agenda for 2020 across 14 policy areas, saying that while the ACT will suffer economic aftershocks from the recent fires and smoke, the economy remains as strong as it has ever been.

“Today, we account for the largest share of the national economy in our history,” he will say.

“The ACT economy is now worth almost $42 billion – larger than both Tasmania and the Northern Territory – and is one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation. Over the past four years, 3,200 new business have established and 19,600 new jobs have been created.”

Mr Barr’s speech will stress an infrastructure spend across key areas of health, education and transport, including the $500 million Canberra Hospital SPIRE project, new schools and light rail Stage 2A to Commonwealth Park, with contracts being signed and work commencing this year.

In a clear pitch to families struggling with the cost of childcare, Mr Barr will announce that Education Minister Yvette Berry will later this year release the government’s Early Childhood Strategy to “ensure every child in the ACT has the best start in life through equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care”.

“This important document will also outline the first, targeted phase of our commitment to provide free pre-school to three-year-olds in the ACT,” Mr Barr will say.

Mr Barr will also announce that Emergency Services and Environment and Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman will oversee the government’s bushfire recovery and resilience efforts, including the regeneration of Namadgi National Park, return of wildlife, and repairs to government infrastructure and assets.

Mr Barr will also take the opportunity to announce the full detail of the government’s new wellbeing framework which, from this year on, will be reported against as part of the annual Budget process.

The government has been developing a set of wellbeing indicators to help guide government decision-making and priorities for the future.

“These indicators will help us measure how Canberra is performing based on what Canberrans believe is necessary to live a quality life,” according to Mr Barr.


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79 Responses to Barr’s election pitch: Now is not the time to go backwards
Sue Sutton Sue Sutton 9:18 pm 13 Feb 20

Well he is a politician, that is what they do

Yuri Shukost Yuri Shukost 2:37 pm 13 Feb 20

Just remember, Barr, it's the older citizens you disparaged that might decide your future at the polling booth. I hope they remember.

rationalobserver rationalobserver 10:17 am 13 Feb 20

Forward is a euphemism for progressive, and its progressive left leaning ideology which has brought us to where we are today. And its a smoke screen. ACT is rushing towards renewables when construction companies are refusing to take on wind and solar projects because of unacceptable risks. We are recycling only to have it being stockpiled at Hume with no economical way of dealing with it. Bikie crime going through the roof because we care more about hurt feelings that law enforcement. Talk about a bubble.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 12:54 am 13 Feb 20

It’s been harder and harder to cast a vote at successive elections. At both Federal and State/Territory level the last few elections have been a choice of Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dummer.

For the first time since I first became eligible to vote I’m seriously thinking of not casting a vote. And I hate that Australian politics has come to this.

Acton Acton 6:33 pm 12 Feb 20

What would it take for Barr not to be re-elected?

John Moulis John Moulis 4:07 pm 12 Feb 20

This discussion is all elementary. Even if Andrew Barr was photographed kissing a woman he would still be elected. Really, I wonder why we are even having an election at all.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:25 am 13 Feb 20

    If he did that he would get even more votes.

MERC600 MERC600 1:55 pm 12 Feb 20

I wold like Mr Bar to go over the reasons again why we don’t have the same anti bike laws as other states have, and thus having quite a number of them now residing here.
Was it something about your rights to have gun fire in your
street ( as you have reported happened in Gordon ) .. if you should wish .
I would like it all explained again.

chewy14 chewy14 7:18 am 12 Feb 20

We must move forward, not backward; upward, not downward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

Tee Baz Tee Baz 3:35 am 12 Feb 20

It always takes an election for politicians to become human like again- at least from an engagement perspective.

Unfortunately the way politics is entrenched in Australia revolves around the two major party’s. Both parties are heavily backed by various enterprises which allows them to dominate the arena and hijack genuine debate. Neither party can be trusted to deliver on their promises as their purpose is maintaining power and chest beating.

What is needed is a fresh robust and engaging Legislative Assembly. The only way to achieve this is to have genuine, empathetic policy minded Independents in the Assembly, who are not afraid to take up the challenge and make governments accountable. Canberra has always been known as a progressive city, with voters not afraid to embrace new ways.

However, over the past four ACT elections the same results have been delivered - two major party’s and minor party taking the spoils of the Assembly. Some say that’s the best way for locals to be represented however all it does is keep status quo and dismisses the opportunity for genuine Independent voices to be in the Assembly. I here it every day from voters, that they are disillusioned with the major party’s but don’t know who to vote for. Therefore, if we are true on being a progressive city, and wanting to buck the trend of other States & Territory’s, lets all make an effort to engage with with Independent candidates, and give them an equal platform for intelligent debate. The more candidates we can encourage to run as Independents the more choice is available to voters. So It’s time to get away from the so called coalition style party’s and make your vote count this election - VOTE INDEPENDENT! The true voice of Canberra.

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 12:24 am 12 Feb 20

Does backwards mean building more social housing and a lot less of the massive red elephants?

Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 11:08 pm 11 Feb 20

Now is not the time to send our city backwards!!!! That because there's nowhere further back to go?

City?? How about the whole territory??

Peter Thornton Peter Thornton 10:52 pm 11 Feb 20

"Forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:38 pm 11 Feb 20

Backwards to – affordable housing (that didn’t start falling apart within a few years), rents, rates, utility bills, car rego fees, a decent bus network, hospitals that could cope, public schools not on the slide, etc. etc. – would be really, really terrible.

    JC JC 9:33 pm 12 Feb 20

    You seriously think the Libs could do that? Simple answer is nope b

Ben Jones Ben Jones 8:10 pm 11 Feb 20

Let’s move forward ... and again increase your rates !

Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 7:59 pm 11 Feb 20

Hospital wait times are dismal. Bus timetables wrecked to feed the light rail which is now stalled. Rates through the roof yet they are favourites to be re-elected. Democracy Canberra style.

    Stephen Matthews Stephen Matthews 8:33 pm 11 Feb 20

    No what it means is that the other side is rubbish

    Chris Emery Chris Emery 3:13 pm 13 Feb 20

    Waiting times to see a specialist for first appointment are so bad they are not revealed.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:54 pm 13 Feb 20

    Chris Emery they are not revealed as it has nothing to do with ACT government, same with GP services.

    Only thing the government can do is create an environment where specialists want to come here and setup shop and/or offer incentives. But certain the specialists here wouldn’t like that too much.

    Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 6:04 pm 13 Feb 20

    Yes the dramas with VMO's

Karl Varnsen Karl Varnsen 7:46 pm 11 Feb 20

Well done Mr Barr and ACT Government for handling the bush fire crisis so professionally and diligently. The liberal flogs will never get my vote and those same incompetent libs in charge federally could learn a thing or two from you on how you handle a crisis!

Mac John Mac John 7:38 pm 11 Feb 20

The liberals ( feds) voted against an ICAC style integrity commission, the president of the Canberra Liberals in implicated one the Angus Taylor forged document as it has been reported he provided it to a media outlet: there is the awarding of grants for political bribes. Also the libs are deniers of climate change with the federal libs failing to show leadership in the bushfire emergency. Where do I stop. Yes there are things the Barr Govt could have done better

, the Greens also have a record where they brought a seat in cabinet at the sacrifice of independence. Well I prefer Labor than having anything to do with the Libs.

    Jim Hosie Jim Hosie 2:06 pm 12 Feb 20

    Mac John dude become a swinging voter seriously - you don’t think this mob are cut of the same cloth?

Stuart James Stuart James 7:23 pm 11 Feb 20

Land prices through the roof.

Killing builders and associated trades.

Fixed price of what we can put our rent up on investment properties.

Rates, land tax going up.

Im sure though he and his mates have lined their own pockets through the big developers..

Lee McDowall Lee McDowall 6:50 pm 11 Feb 20

Hopefully ACT voters will see the light and vote this incompeted and the incompeted Greens out. It's time for a big change. Although it is really hard to know who to vote for with the ACT pollies we have😢😭😭😭😭😭

David Brown David Brown 5:11 pm 11 Feb 20

I agree. We need to move forward and get rid of Barr and his cronies.

    Brydie Kelly Brydie Kelly 8:13 pm 11 Feb 20

    David Brown and replace with who? Unfortunately the alternative is worse 😔

    David Brown David Brown 8:18 pm 11 Feb 20

    Brydie Kelly That is a belief. The facts remain unknown. I think Barr and his cronies are taking us for granted and they need to be given a shake.

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