ACT Labor Pre-selection
I am a proud Canberran, social progressive and economic reformer. I am also Chief Minister and leader of ACT Labor.
I have lived throughout Canberra including the Inner South, Woden, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong and Belconnen but for some time now I’ve called the Inner North home.
I was born in Lismore, New South Wales, and moved to Canberra when I was four, so my earliest memories are of our suburbs. Canberra also gave me the gift of a great education after starting at Holt Preschool, I attended the AME School in Weston, Turner Primary, Lyneham High and Lake Ginninderra College.
I stayed in Canberra after College, something a lot more Canberrans are now attracted to do, and studied economics, philosophy, sociology and public policy at the ANU. The ANU also gave me my first taste of practical politics through the ANU Labor Students Club and in winning election to the Students Association and ANU Union Board.
I’ve worked in politics as an electorate officer, policy advisor and a chief of staff and spent time in the private sector as an account manager and media analyst before entering the Legislative Assembly in April 2006.
I have been Chief Minister since December 2014 and I am also the ACT Treasurer, as well as the Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events but in the past I’ve been the Minister responsible for other areas of Government such as Housing, Education, Planning, Community Services and Sport amongst others.
The ACT Labor Government is building an inclusive and supportive city – a city that continues to be the most liveable city in the world. I am proud of where we have come from and the city we are building together.
Health, Education, Transport
Providing high quality public health, public education and public transport is the driving force for ACT Labor.
Health, education and transport provide more than a social safety net, they generate social change. I strongly believe that our role in Government is to drive social inclusion and address inequality and since taking the role of Chief Minister I have made this a Cabinet position. My goal is to provide Canberra with the best possible health, education and transport systems as one of the many approaches that Labor can take to generate positive social change.
- The Barr Labor Government will build the new University of Canberra Public Hospital
- We will continue to invest in upgrades to improve our Emergency Department
- We will continue to campaign for a better deal on health funding from the Federal Liberal Government - hundreds of millions of dollars were cut from our health budget by Abbott and Hockey.
- Canberra students have the best educational outcomes in Australia and we want even better
- We are improving teacher quality and building new schools in growth areas in the Molonglo Valley and Gungahlin
- We are expanding CIT across Canberra to deliver more vocational training to more Canberrans
- I recently announced the creation of Transport Canberra, bringing together ACTION buses and light rail, and keeping ACTION buses in public hands
- A Labor government will deliver the light rail network across Canberra, we are also committed to delivering more buses, more services, more often and to providing the integrated public transport network our growing city needs.
Economy and Jobs
As both Treasurer and Chief Minister my focus is for a growing, diversified Territory economy that provides jobs.
I do not believe in austerity budgets and the ACT Labor government has deliberately used budget stimulus measures to support jobs in Canberra after the biggest shock to our city since 1996 with the brutal cuts by the Abbott Liberal government.
On every measure this decision has paid off.
Our unemployment is low and our economy is now one of the fastest growing in Australia. We have turned the corner. However, we need to continue to diversify our economy. I am committed to building on our strengths and have worked closely with our universities to encourage them to expand. Providing not just the white collar jobs that drive our export market but construction, retail and hospitality jobs to ensure all Canberrans can benefit from our growing city.
I am particularly proud of two achievements:
1. Brand CBR (use logo) - the increasing pride we have in our city as the next ‘coolest little capital’, somewhere people want to live and a tourist destination.
2. Tax Reform - taking a major, progressive reform to the 2012 election and sticking with it. This has made housing more affordable with the biggest cuts to stamp duty starting at the bottom of the market. We are getting rid of insurance tax and removing payroll tax (a tax on wages) for most Canberra businesses.
Achievements and Future Agenda
I am seeking your support to cement our achievements as a Labor government and to build on these foundations.
My urban renewal agenda has seen Braddon planning reforms transform the inner city as the Kingston Foreshore has brought life to a new part of the city.
My vision for the city will see physical renewal:
- new life to Northbourne Avenue as a high density corridor
- new supermarkets in Dickson,
- upgrades to Downer Shops and the community housing development
- a new CBD swimming pool
- Kingston Arts Precinct
We are a progressive community and we have achieved success across the board with our approach to social policy, but there is more to do. The Assembly has only just been able to put in place the means to expunge past criminal convictions for consensual homosexual acts.
We will drive social policy change through:
- Step up for our Kids, breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage and keeping children safe at home
- Enhancing our domestic violence services
- Human Services Blueprint, which makes sure Canberrans who need support get the right service at the right time for the right duration
- Continuing the fight for marriage equality