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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1816..


Public Sector - Job Cuts

MR WOOD: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I refer to your exclusive, extraordinary, unprecedented special meeting last Wednesday evening with the Prime Minister concerning Treasurer Costello's ill-conceived moves to change State and Territory government sales tax. I note your conclusion that you got no undertakings of any special deals whatsoever. Did the Prime Minister acknowledge the devastating effect on the ACT of his Public Service job cuts? Did the Prime Minister express any compassion for the ACT families who will lose their jobs? What did he say to you?

Mr Hird: "How are you going, Kate?".

MRS CARNELL: No; there was no hello. It was not an unprecedented meeting. In fact, before the Premiers Conference last year I had a similar meeting with Paul Keating. I think it is probably one of those things that here in the ACT we are lucky to have an opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister that potentially may not occur for Premiers of the smaller States or the other Chief Minister.

I explained at length and in depth - and it took about an hour to do it - the absolutely dreadful position that the ACT finds itself in. I explained to him the problems that we have with jobs generally. I explained to him the problem that we have with revenue. I showed him graphs of what is happening to ACT revenue and to ACT jobs. Those opposite seem uninterested in actually knowing the answer; but I think that, if there is one issue that should be of real concern to everybody here, it is the issue that we are talking about now. I showed him that until last November 6,600 jobs had been created in the ACT since we took office. I then showed him that, in the months since the calling of the Federal election and the months since the coalition was elected, the number of jobs created has significantly reduced. Probably about 5,000 are no longer on the books. We are certainly still 1,000 ahead of where we started. Even so, the trend is very worrying.

I also showed him what is happening to unemployment as a figure, a situation where it - - -

Mr Wood: On a point of order, Mr Speaker - - -

MRS CARNELL: I am sorry; I thought that was the question you asked.

Mr Wood: That is not the question I asked. I asked what you got from the Prime Minister; not what you said to him.

MRS CARNELL: You said, "What did you say to him?".

Mr Wood: What he said to you.

MR SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. The Chief Minister is answering the question.


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