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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
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.

Wayne Warton Wayne Warton 4:45 pm 11 Feb 20

The rates rip-off has to end

Capital Retro Capital Retro 3:39 pm 11 Feb 20
Chris Cross Chris Cross 3:14 pm 11 Feb 20

Why in the world would you give the reins to Coe, who's probably the most conservative Liberal member in the nation? The ACT economy over the last 20 years has been growing steadily and consistently. No massive bubbles, no 'corrections'... just nice and steady. We've got a great town and a great future, because of progressive thinking and looking into the future. One of the lowest electricity prices in Australia because we weren't scared of renewable energy. You reckon Coe would've done that? Or implement mass transit now, instead of too late like every other state did? Labor's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than the alternative!!!!

    Fiona Dickson Fiona Dickson 8:14 pm 11 Feb 20

    Chris Cross most of the big achievements not Labor initiatives. Most the questionable ones - the unintelligent urban planning and building crap boom you can thank Labor for. Economic progress doesn’t need to come at the expense of intelligent design - but that’s what we have from Labor. In tight with developers, doing a long term disservice to this city and future generations. Too lazy and incompetent to make sure we can have the best of urban intensification. Labor provides mediocrity, only marginally better than the Libs.

John Sant John Sant 2:20 pm 11 Feb 20

Yvette Berry does not support whistle blowers

bj_ACT bj_ACT 1:53 pm 11 Feb 20

Problem is that too many parts of Canberra have gone backwards under Mr Barr’s watch.

Yes Canberra has improved on the whole over the last 20 years, but some areas/suburbs have seen schools close, shops disappear, facilities age, medical services decline, community services cease, public transport change for the worse and even their formal and peer reviewed socio economic status decline.

The areas of Canberra that Mr Barr and ACT Labor actively made better, came at the cost of the areas and suburbs that they selectively ignored or directly impacted.

There are two sides to a balance sheet. It does thinking Canberra voters and residents a disservice by only focusing on the one side.

grim123 grim123 1:49 pm 11 Feb 20

Will he grow a spine and stop letting Rattenbury run the ACT?

    ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 6:16 pm 11 Feb 20

    If he is letting Rattenbury run the ACT why are we losing thousands of trees every year. The Greens support more trees, Labor is obviously against trees.

    grim123 grim123 11:48 am 12 Feb 20

    The tram was the cause of a huge portion of that. Who pushed hardest for the train set?

    Typical of the greens to say one thing and do another though. Thanks for providing an example.

Charlie Sgroi Charlie Sgroi 1:40 pm 11 Feb 20

Want to fix the hospital

And stop union money

Easy....change government...

Raffy Sgroi Raffy Sgroi 1:37 pm 11 Feb 20

“Our community expects world-class public services and they need good secure jobs in the future”... ??!

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 2:06 pm 11 Feb 20

    Raffy Sgroi talk to the LNP re public services!!

    Raffy Sgroi Raffy Sgroi 3:04 pm 11 Feb 20

    its the “world class” that I don’t understand! Canberra yes need public services but definitely not more executives

    Vander Leal Vander Leal 1:40 am 12 Feb 20

    I would like to see a list of public services started by his government.

Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 1:27 pm 11 Feb 20

Election promises! You had 20 years to sort out our hospital

Zahidul Alam Zahidul Alam 1:09 pm 11 Feb 20

He will be elected again

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 12:12 am 12 Feb 20

    The Canberra Liberals are ensuring that specifically by retaining Alistair Coe as leader, and being to the Right of Genghis Khan in general.

Michelle Fitzpatrick Michelle Fitzpatrick 12:25 pm 11 Feb 20

No your right Mr Barr, but sadly you have already achieved sending our once beautiful city backwards!

Daniel J. Fitzpatrick Daniel J. Fitzpatrick 12:14 pm 11 Feb 20

An ant is a better choice than liberals, especially the lunatic Canberra branch. Barr should do the decent thing and stepped aside so we had a better choice, I fear people just chancing Coe “for a change”.....bad!

Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 12:14 pm 11 Feb 20

Backwards...?????...😆 The whole ideology of the left is backwards!!

    Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 12:24 pm 11 Feb 20

    Henry Kivimaki yeah how backwards universal health care, living wage, weekends, 40 hour working week, education etc. year totally backwards

    Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 12:37 pm 11 Feb 20

    Boweavil Kat Yep. For about a year then , all the private businesses will be seized, everyday products such a food and sanitary items ..nearly everything will disappear of the shelves, hyper inflation will strike... poverty and anarchy will prevail... Bingo. I'll have a book for sale in the future called .."I told you so" .. find me then and I'll swap you a signed copy of my book for a loaf of stale bread. 😉

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 2:04 pm 11 Feb 20

    Henry Kivimaki what a load of crock! You scared that franking credits might go and the working class might get help for a decent life?

    Chris Ellis Chris Ellis 2:05 pm 11 Feb 20

    Henry Barr is liberal light not left

    Vander Leal Vander Leal 1:38 am 12 Feb 20

    Chris Ellis I would say he's way more than that. So Liberal that I have no clue how can he still be part of Labor.

    His agenda is deeply liberal: pro-private-development and real estate (nothing public owned), putting down public housing on prime real estate suburbs and sending the houses to the nthe fringe of the city, hand in hand with lobby to change whatever needed to accommodate his plan whenever there's a regulatory law to prevent things to go unbalanced in the urban planning, maximising revenue with no paired social development initiatives...

    Yeah, surely not a right wing "conservative liberal", but surely a centre liberal with "modern habits" .

Vander Leal Vander Leal 11:54 am 11 Feb 20

Keeping the same guy over and over, after the bastardisation of the urban planning would send it backwards (even more). So, yes Barr, I agree... let's not make it go backwards, therefore you must go. See ya..

Scott Knight Scott Knight 11:53 am 11 Feb 20

Angry bitter ex Labor voter here.

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 12:08 am 12 Feb 20

    I would quite like to give ACT Labor a little rest-and-renewal time on the Opposition benches, but not while Tony Abbott Jr is the alternative Chief Minister, and the rest of the Canberra Liberals are just as bad.

Barry Jones Barry Jones 11:46 am 11 Feb 20

So there are times when we should send the city backwards??

    Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 12:20 pm 11 Feb 20

    Barry Jones when you vote liberal

    Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 1:23 pm 11 Feb 20

    Boweavil Kat yes because the liberals stuffed up our health system and our hospital in the ACT. Enjoying being a sheep much?

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 7:35 pm 11 Feb 20

    Itshak, they (the liberals) certainly don’t have a policy or plan in that space... sooo

    Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 8:52 pm 11 Feb 20

    Leigh Brady neither labor for the past 20 years. Throwing money prior to elections says to me buying votes and nothing else.

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 9:01 pm 11 Feb 20

    Itshak, they at least put a plan and a policy to the public to decide on. Much better than no plan to assess and understand before voting

    Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 9:19 pm 11 Feb 20

    Leigh Brady which labor policy are you referring to? The one that looks nice before the elections, or those that helped rank our waiting lists the worst in the country?

Tammy Britt Welsh Tammy Britt Welsh 11:26 am 11 Feb 20

Better be good and forward thinking, to many Canberra people thinking it is time for a change just for the sake of it. Please people look at what happened when the federal government went Liberal

    Zakzook Chico Zakzook Chico 1:25 pm 11 Feb 20

    Tammy Britt Welsh baaaaaaaaa 🐑

    Chris Cross Chris Cross 3:04 pm 11 Feb 20

    Change for the sake of change?? I'd like to think Canberra folk are smarter than that! Look at what each party is proposing in terms of policies and track history, then go with that. We are in a really good position right now, and unlike the other states our future looks great! Yeah Labor's been in for ages, but what in the world have the Liberal's suggested (other than to fear current policy) that is actually any better? No message, no policy, just a lot of nay-saying and conservatism. ACT Liberal is EXACTLY like Federal Liberal. Don't have a goal for the future, don't announce any logical or thoughtful policy, and bag out any proposed changes with fear and half truths. And look where 12 years of non-committed non-directional Federal Liberal policy has got us. Change for the sake of change?!? No bloody way!

Dean O'Brien Dean O'Brien 11:24 am 11 Feb 20

So another pitch for higher taxes again.....

    Luke Bennett Luke Bennett 6:51 pm 11 Feb 20

    Dean O'Brien here we go again... you wanna blame someone for taxes going up, you need to look at the Feds, my friend...

    Dean O'Brien Dean O'Brien 6:52 pm 11 Feb 20

    Luke Bennett that's funny! Since when does the Fed control rates/land tax and rego?

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 7:34 pm 11 Feb 20

    Dean, they don’t, but overall taxation hasn’t gone up as per the abs source posted above.

    Luke Bennett Luke Bennett 7:58 pm 11 Feb 20

    Dean O'Brien they don’t... as is clearly shown in the table, the ACT levies less tax per person than the average of all states/territories. So our apparently ever increasing taxes are still less than most of the country is paying...

    Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 9:46 pm 11 Feb 20

    are rates included in those figures?

    Dean O'Brien Dean O'Brien 10:28 am 12 Feb 20

    Luke ok so by the chart ACT is the 3rd highest taxed state....

Ben Catania Ben Catania 11:14 am 11 Feb 20

Cant even keep a straight face lol

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