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November 12, 2013
For immediate release
Throne Speech outlines government priorities and direction
The Speech from the Throne outlines government priorities and the direction it will take for the remainder of this mandate, says Premier Robert Ghiz.
“The direction we are announcing today builds on the progress we have made since 2007,” said the Premier. “The five central themes of the Speech reflect the priorities of Islanders and what we hope to achieve for Islanders in the coming years.”
Making government more direct and citizen-centred
New initiatives will lead to more direct and easier access to government programs and services. A transformation of the government website will make it easier for Islanders to access government services and information, no matter where they are.
A red tape reduction program will improve services by streamlining processes and eliminating unnecessary rules.
Improvements will be made to bring about an increasingly patient-centred health system, and to put students at the centre of public education.
Better management of land and water resources
During the Session, the provincial government will announce an implementation plan for changes under the Lands Protection Act.
In partnership with the Watershed Alliance, a Model Watershed Pilot Project will be developed.
Government will address the recommendations of the Provincial Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management to protect streams and fish habitat.
Government will proceed with the establishment of the Bonshaw Hills Wilderness Park, the first of its kind in the province.
In the coming year, a new private forests management program will include incentives for certification and reparion zone management.
Living within our financial means
Prince Edward Island is now starting to see improvements in its fiscal outlook, as confirmed by recent credit ratings.
Changes will be made to public sector pension plans to meet the needs of current employees, those close to retirement, pensioners and taxpayers.
Building economic strength
Government will take a leadership role in the design and implementation of a new food innovation strategy that will lead to the development of new markets and products.
A unique new school of design engineering, to be established at the University of Prince Edward Island will focus on sustainable energy, bio-resources and food processing.
An extended Island Community Fund will continue to enhance infrastructure in communities throughout the province.
The Entrepreneur Loan Program will increase from a maximum of $50,000 to $100,000.
To strengthen the potential of the Charlottetown waterfront, a process will be undertaken to determine the future use of the Queen’s Wharf, and preparations will be made for the relocation of the Government Garage.
A new Prince Edward Island Home Renovation Program will be introduced this year.
Social assistance clients will receive a three percent increase in shelter rates, and food rates for single persons will increase by five percent.
Government is committed to achieving greater representation by women on all provincial boards and commissions and achieving overall parity within five years.
Bills to be introduced include amendments to the Workers Compensation Act, the Drug Cost Assistance Act, the Mental Health Act and public pensions legislation.
To read the Speech, view www.gov.pe.ca/thronespeech.