If you decided to take the long weekend off and head out of Canberra or take a detox from social media and the news, you would have missed a spate of announcements from ACT political parties who are all vying for your precious vote less than a fortnight out from the election.
To make it easy to catch up on what you missed, we hit The Campaign Trail and compiled all the big policy announcements from the three major parties to help you stay informed ahead of the 17 October election.
EPIC will become epic-er under a re-elected Labor Government which has pledged to spend $21 million to build a new 10,000 square metre indoor venue at the site.
The venue will have a commercial and community kitchen to allow for self-catering events such as weddings and multicultural events. It will be able to cater for 1,500 people standing or 1,000 people seated during non-COVID times.
Design work and a business case for a new Canberra Theatre precinct in the city will continue while purpose-built art facilities in the Kingston Arts Precinct will also be delivered, Labor says.
Tuggeranong Arts Centre will get $2 million for upgrades and $8 million will be put aside for accessibility, safety and energy efficiency upgrades for Gorman House before its 100th anniversary in 2024.
There will also be $15 million for new off-road cycle routes and cycle path widening and maintenance.
Reconciliation policy will get a boost under a re-elected Labor Government with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith promising to establish a $20 million Healing and Reconciliation Fund to create a Ngunnawal Language Centre, support a Treaty process for the ACT and return Boomanulla Oval and Yarramundi Cultural Centre to community control.
A new $10 million purpose-built facility for the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation will also be built while an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People’s Commissioner will be appointed.
The Liberals have promised to create a $25 million playground revitalisation fund to upgrade equipment and build new shade sails, fencing and seating.
The fund will also be used to build new playgrounds and facilities like BBQ areas.
The Liberals have also built on their education policy, promising to create a dedicated high school for Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 school students that will focus on vocational training in construction and trades.
Childcare affordability will also be a target thanks to a new before and after school care subsidy which will give households an $800 voucher for every child each year. An $800,000 annual Early Learning Scholarship Fund will also help childhood educators and teachers to access study leave payments, professional development and training opportunities. The policy was announced at the Canberra Liberals’ campaign launch over the weekend.
Light rail is well and truly back on the agenda after the Greens said they will consider an extension of Stage 2B to Mawson, with two extra stops at Phillip and Mawson, a potential expansion of the Mawson ‘Park & Ride’ car park and a possible terminus at the intersection of Athllon Drive, Mawson Drive and Beasley Street.
The current plans will see light rail built to the Tuggeranong Town Centre via Mawson under Stage 4, but no timeline has been attached.
The Greens expanded on their Indigenous policies by promising to create a First Nations Social Justice Commissioner within the Human Rights Commission, as well as establishing a Ngunawal Language Centre at the Yarramundi Cultural centre.
Ngunawal language programs will also be integrated into the ACT primary school curriculum, the Greens said.