ACT government ‘pleased’ with federal budget’s delivery

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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

CHIEF Minister Andrew Barr called the federal government’s list of inducements nothing short of delivering an “election budget”, but the ACT Labor leader also conceded the territory was not left empty handed either.

“The devil will be in the detail, but can they deliver it?” Mr Barr told ABC Canberra radio on Wednesday morning (May 12).

Distinct concerns for the ACT heading into Tuesday night’s budget pointed to internationally tradeable services area that includes components of higher education and tourism, and to a lesser extent the trade of scientific, technical and professional services.

Canberra academics had estimated that $1.8 billion was lost nationally from restrictions of the ongoing pandemic that has heavily affected the Australian National University and also the University of Canberra.

“While the borders are closed, those areas that had been in the fastest growing economy, they won’t grow as fast, but there is potential for that to be offset through infrastructure programs,” Mr Barr said.

Considering the Liberal-led coalition government had little to gain electorally in the ACT, Mr Barr said after looking at the budget papers, there were plenty of positives to draw from.

Labor safely holds all seats in the House of Representatives and one of two in the Senate.

“I was really pleased that the Commonwealth largely said yes to all of our infrastructure projects’ priorities that we put forward,” he said.

“There’s light rail funding, there’s jobs in construction projects that are going ahead and there’s far more opportunities it seems in the national cultural institutions associated with capital works improvements.”

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