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17 October 2023
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Lt.-Gov. Brenda Murphy opened the third session of the 60th legislature today by delivering the speech from the throne on behalf of the government.
“This session begins at a time of growth and diversity for our province,” said Murphy. “While much makes our province special, it is New Brunswickers who make it unique, who work together, and support one another. While, at times, divides can surface, they are not insurmountable. New Brunswickers have shown time and again that they are resilient, and that they care deeply about each other and our communities.”
The speech from the throne highlighted the provincial government’s legislative and policy agenda. It detailed the government’s plans to continue to focus on five priority areas and make progress on them through accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility. These priority areas are: energizing the private sector; creating vibrant and sustainable communities; delivering dependable public health care; building a better education system; and protecting the environment.
“We are proud of the progress we have made, but we are still facing challenges in the areas of heath care, housing and, especially, affordability,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “I remain concerned at how the rising cost of living is directly linked to federal energy policies that are driving up the cost of our necessities.”
Initiatives outlined in the throne speech include:
Energizing the Private Sector
· Establish a New Brunswick Red Seal trades office overseas to pre-qualify and recruit workers in priority residential construction occupations.
· Make better use of resources to deliver better service for New Brunswickers.
· Create a more business-friendly environment by reducing red tape.
· Work with telecommunications companies on rural broadband and cellphone service enhancements.
· Ensure New Brunswickers have access to secure and reliable energy at an affordable price.
· Deliver an integrated energy strategy to provide the province with a cleaner future while balancing economic development.
· Expand New Brunswick’s hydrogen, wind and solar industries.
Vibrant and Sustainable Communities
· Provide $60 million over 10 years through regional service commissions to support local economic development, labour force development and newcomer retention services.
· Provide $3 million over the next two years to support renters with small, short-term loans.
· Introduce a legislated spike protection mechanism for all qualifying properties for the 2025 taxation year.
· Increase the Low-Income Seniors’ Benefit and reduce the percentage of household income required to fund residential care for a spouse or partner.
· Double the capacity for drug rehabilitation with 50 new residential beds.
· Establish a new disability support services model to provide a single-service pathway for people with permanent disabilities.
· Invest $3.2 million to support emergency shelters.
· Release a new strategy to address homelessness.
Dependable Public Health Care
· Implement a patient-first strategy so health-care providers can give patients the option of accessing care anywhere in the province and treat them sooner.
· Increase the number of doctors working in a collaborative care practice.
· Create a credential recognition fund and process for specific internationally educated health-care professionals.
· Improve access to detox programs and concurrent disorder treatments for people struggling with mental health and addiction issues.
· Expand a pilot project to enhance critical care in adult residential facilities.
Building a Better Education System
· Improve learning outcomes by implementing a phonics-based system that is widely recognized for delivering better reading performances.
· Add more resources to assist with classroom learning and create an environment that is safe and constructive for students and teachers.
· Expand the Positive Behaviours Intervention Supports program to improve student behaviour in the classroom.
· Increase opportunities for educational and career pathway exploration.
· Focus on conservation, sustainable forest management principles and economic development to achieve beneficial outcomes for the environment, society and the economy.
· Provide $47 million to support projects under the Climate Change Action Fund.
· Invest $9 million to support Environmental Trust Fund projects in 2023-24.
The complete text of the speech from the throne is available online.
Corporate communications, Executive Council Office, email@example.com.