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POCOCK: Well, I've been very clear that I think this, this budget needs to be about people. It needs to be about housing and health and [we] have started doing the work to build a broad coalition of Canberrans, people in the region who are pushing in next year's budget to have a commitment to a city partnership that really sets Canberra up for the future.

Listening to the Utopia clip, it's a bit, it's a bit too real. I guess here in the ACT we are in a different situation where we have a convention centre that's no longer fit for purpose. It's frankly quite embarrassing that the national capital can't host big, major conferences or events. And then if you look at Bruce Stadium, it's beyond its use by date and it's gonna have to be replaced you know, whether we like it or not.

So I'm saying, let's have a really solid plan that can set us up for the future.

FEJER: What is this idea of a, I guess a city deal or a partnership to deliver infrastructure projects? 

POCOCK: City partnerships are exactly that, a partnership between federal government and then state and territory governments. And Canberra is the only, the ACT is the only jurisdiction to not have one. The federal government has put almost $10 billion into these partnerships and the ACT has missed out and it really is about investing in infrastructure that is going to transform and really set up a city or a regional town for the future.

And I think there's a really strong case for Canberra and in consulting with people and looking at what could be possible that four sorts of pillars have really come up.

One is housing. And I think crucially ensuring that part of that is social and affordable housing. Events, Innovation, you know, Canberra has more startups per capita than any other capital city. And with some targeted investment, we can really leverage that and, start to, you know, broaden out and keep more startups here in Canberra. And then the last thing is transport, ensure that we can continue to invest in public transport so that we're a liveable city.

So those are the four broad pillars and you know, my team and I have been doing consultation. We sent a letter to Andrew Barr and to the Prime Minister with 35 odd organisations and peak bodies, business groups calling for this. So I think we can really build momentum leading into the next budget.

FEJER: You're hearing this morning from Senator David Pocock, independent Senator for the ACT, I wonder what you think of this idea? This city deal partnership because we're the only territory or state or territory that doesn't have one, big city, aren't we?

POCOCK: Yes, we are. We are, you know, these were started under the Turnbull government. And since then we've seen almost $10 billion from federal government committed to these, what were city deals they ARE now called city partnerships under Labor. And I think there's a really good opportunity here in Canberra to invest in the city. I think invest in a way that aligns with the Griffin legacy that is making our city more vibrant, more livable. And, you know, potentially linking up the city to the lake and ensuring that more and more people who visit Canberra and Canberrans can enjoy what our city was set up to do. And then it be a sort of a vibrant hub of of government that is a garden city that is well planned. that's easy to get around, that's, that's very livable.

FEJER: Why haven't we had one?

POCOCK: I'm not too sure about the politics of it all. I think there was in 2017, there was talk of potentially doing one but that hasn't happened. You know, I guess we heard the Finance Minister Katy Gallagher saying there's nothing for something like a stadium because they haven't received a detailed proposal from the ACT government. So I think, you know, part of this is on us as a territory to get things in order, work out what we want, how that fits into the longer-term plan for Canberra as the national capital. It's great to see the government is investing in our national cultural institutions that's long overdue. We should be valuing them, but we also need to be valuing Canberra as a city. And acknowledging that we're the fastest growing capital city, we have some huge challenges when it comes to housing and putting together a city partnership can meaningfully start to address that in a way that is in line with us as a planned city with the Griffin legacy. And you know, I think it's an incredible opportunity for us, 

FEJER: Senator David Pocock with you this morning on ABC Radio, Canberra quarter to 10. Onto I know that it was mooted that we may even be in surplus this budget, which will be quite a change. But what about the petroleum resource rent tax this PRRT, what do the changes mean for us or the proposed changes?

POCOCK: Well, it's clearly that, that this hasn't been working. It's essentially a tax on gas and oil. There's no royalty on offshore gas. And so the PRRT is the way that Australians should benefit from our resources. But we're not and having seen the way the government is talking about this, really disappointed to see that they're essentially just doing some tiny tinkering at the edges.

We've seen Rod Sims, the former head of the ACCC saying that they could triple what they're recommending. We've seen the AFR come out and say, well, this is a licence for gas companies to keep printing money.

APPEA, the Petroleum Production and Exploration Association seem pretty happy with this. Which I think says it all, we are not getting our fair share from our own resources, our gas that these gas companies are then selling back to us at international prices.

It doesn't make sense. It's disappointing to see the Treasurer not willing to really I guess make changes, that will ensure that we benefit. He seems to have some, I guess some scars or some PTSD from the mining tax fights back in the day. I think he was a staffer then. I think things have changed.

Australians realise that we should be benefiting more from our own resources, we're incredibly dependent on them. And so we should be taxing them in a way that actually allows us to invest in other things to set us up for the for the future to build a sort of renewable superpower economy. All of those things, all of those things take money and the budget’s been in structural deficit. We've got to be willing to talk about revenue.

FEJER: Well, we'll wait and see for tomorrow night. Just on the city deal, Matt's asking is a city deal just about the big ticket items like a convention centre, stadium or how fine grained at a community level can they get with a city deal? Like, can you do community indoor sports facilities, for example? 

POCOCK: I think it's really up to the negotiations between the federal and state government. Looking at previous city deals, it’s usually anchored on some big ticket items that that an area needs or, or wants. But you know, all the details can be worked out and I guess that's one of the challenges here in the ACT. We haven't seen the sort of planning and investment in things like community sporting facilities across the territory. You know, we've had all these new suburbs go in and a lot of our sports are at capacity. They've got massive waiting lists and at a time where we know it's just so crucial that our young people and our communities can be active both for the physical and the mental side of things building relationships and community. There's a lot to do. So we'll be taking that all into account and really hope that the government comes to the table and is keen to work with the federal government on a city partnership.

FEJER: Just quickly before I let you go. I know you’re flat out today. But Belinda from Curtin has asked, can you explain what not fit for purpose means regarding the stadium? The Bruce stadium, AIS. What are the problems? You've played there now you're on the other side?

POCOCK: Well I think the biggest thing is it's so old now that I believe there's sort of concrete cancer and a whole bunch of issues where, a stadium simply gets to the end of its life. It's one of the oldest stadiums in the country. So, as a start, that's a big issue and then I guess on top of that because it's so old it hasn't kept up in terms of spectators and one the viewing being closer to the ground. But then the game day experience, it's really not benefiting a whole heap of small businesses and restaurants and bars like it could if it was in somewhere like Civic. Around the world, we're seeing stadiums moved closer to cities so it can benefit all of those businesses on game days so that people can get in on public transport.


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