On The Campaign Trail today, the Libs commit $120 million to cut elective surgery waiting times, Labor backs new schools and David Pollard pushes the Libs for a greater Gungahlin commitment.
- Labor splashes on Narrabundah College and a new school in West Belconnen
- Pollard pokes Liberals to expand Gungahlin sports centre
- Canberra Racing Club to get gaming tax back under Libs
- Greens pledge gas-free MCC
The Canberra Liberals will pump $120 million into Canberra’s health system to halve elective surgery waiting times, hire 400 new health staff (including 200 nurses), and reconfigure the plans for the Canberra Hospital expansion.
The reconfiguration will move emergency vehicles access from Palmer Street to Yamba Drive and will not cause any delays to construction at Canberra Hospital, according to the Liberals.
An extra eight hybrid operating theatres will also be added to the expansion under the proposal as the party pledges to conduct 70,000 elective surgeries by 2024 – 16,000 more than the four years to 2019 and 10,000 more than what Labor has promised to deliver in the same term.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith called the plan unachievable, saying an estimated extra $60 million would be needed to reach that number of elective surgeries, and any changes to the expansion will push the project back, delaying jobs.
Labor splashes on Narrabundah College and a new school in West Belconnen
Labor has continued its education cash splash, building on its $99 million infrastructure fund and promising a $33 million upgrade and expansion for Narrabundah College.
The money will go towards the first stage of upgrades for the College. Construction will begin next year and be phased due to the busy nature of the school.
Consultation and planning for new and expanded schools in the Woden Valley and a new, $45 million zero-emissions primary school in Strathnairn, West Belconnen for around 600 students will also be undertaken if Labor is re-elected.
Pollard pokes Liberals to expand Gungahlin sports centre
Independent for Yerrabi David Pollard has called on the Canberra Liberals to expand their proposal for a sports centre in Gungahlin, potentially at the cost of a new centre in Tuggeranong.
The current centre proposed by the Liberals will cost $12.7 million and contain six indoor basketball courts and a large multipurpose space.
But Mr Pollard wants to see the $12.3 million earmarked for a sports facility in Tuggeranong put into the Gungahlin centre and expand it from four to eight courts, four or five indoor cricket nets and a larger selection on sports including wheelchair rugby.
“The problem is Gungahlin has been playing catch up from day one. For once, I would like to see us get ahead,” he told Region Media.
“The centre will be full from day one under the current proposal.”
Canberra Racing Club to get gaming tax back under Libs
The Canberra Racing Club (CRC) will receive millions back from the ACT Government’s gaming tax under a Liberal Government, local media has reported.
A share of the 15 per cent tax on gaming company revenue in the ACT, as well as from bets made by Canberrans, will be given back to the company – worth around $2-3 million a year.
The Liberals did not publicise the announcement, but rather told the CRC it would change the current policy when responding to questions from the Club.
Greens pledge gas-free MCC
The Molonglo Commerical Centre, set to be developed from 2021-22, will be powered entirely by renewable energy under a new proposition from the Greens.
No gas will be used to power the centre which will contain a supermarket and retail development. In future, community facilities and other commercial and mixed-use development will be added.
The Federation Party wants the Port of Eden to become the Port for Canberra, opening it up as a major transport and tourism hub for the region.
“Multiple Cruise Lines have indicated that they are excited about the proposed rail link to Canberra Airport and beyond, as they can make the Port of Eden a dedicated segment port where passengers can join or alight cruise lines at Eden and have accessed the port via rail from Canberra Airport, Canberra and even as far afield as Sydney and beyond,” the Party said.
“With a close export port at Eden, Canberra can become an innovative manufacturing and export city.”
The Federation Party has not released costings for the proposal.