ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Regional Development, Katy Gallagher, will move to establish a parliamentary committee to inquire into and advance the ambitions of region cooperation and collaboration for the greater capital region.
Through its work the committee would be able to assist the ACT Government to identify opportunities to co-ordinate economic development across the region, including in areas like tourism, shared services and transport. The establishment of the committee would also allow for tri-partisan engagement on the very important issue of our regional future.
The committee would examine further co-ordination of service planning and service delivery, particularly in health and education where the ACT Government is already a major regional provider.
It will also engage with the 12 local government areas in the region to examine the opportunities for savings and efficiencies through partnerships which leverage off a larger population base.
The Chief Minister is meeting with the region's local government leaders today as part of the regular meetings of South East Regional Organisation of Councils (SEROC). She will brief the councils on the proposed select committee, which she has invited the Leader of the Opposition in the ACT to support.
"I anticipate the SEROC councils would play a big role in the committee," the Chief Minister said.
"The Australian capital region has a population of more than 600,000 people – that's eight per cent of the combined New South Wales-ACT population. And that population is growing steadily.
"People living in the region expect quality services and the ACT Government and the councils have to find ways to ensure we deliver those. That's why I would like the select committee to look at co-ordination of service planning and service delivery, recognising that Canberra is the regional centre for a large population.
"Growing tourism and taking a coordinated approach to the regional economy will come through careful consideration of the opportunities and good governance that allows us to steer our efforts.
"We are already working closely with the NSW Government in health and in strategic planning for the region however this committee would enable local councils to participate along with ACT businesses who see the potential of a strong and vibrant region," the Chief Minister concluded.
The committee would be required to report back to the ACT Legislative Assembly no later than the last sitting week in September 2013.
- Statement ends -
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