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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2647..


MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the parallel with Mrs Carnell's record, as I said, is clear. Mrs Carnell started off the fight last year in bringing down the budget with fewer capital works than in previous years. But, not satisfied with committing to fewer capital works, she kept cancelling them. In February it was $8.8m - - -

Members interjected.

Mr Wood: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. When the Chief Minister was speaking, you quickly, and no doubt properly, called to order members on this side of the house who were interjecting. I notice that you are not taking similar action when those members from across the way are interjecting. Would you give that some thought, sir?

MR SPEAKER: I would. The one person I did not call to order was Mr Wood himself, who was carrying on a conversation for some time. But I will bear it in mind.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, it was $14.1m in April, $14.2m a bit later in April, $15m in May, and $20m by the end of the financial year. That is the Carnell Government's commitment to capital works, to investment in this Territory, to jobs in this Territory. Mr Speaker, we cannot be surprised, of course, that Mr Howard will not spend money here. He does not even want to live here.

Mr Speaker, the Liberal Party has an agenda of sacking public servants. In the budget papers they have a number - 10,500 - which translates to about 3,500 public servants here in Canberra. That is public servants employed under the Public Service Act. That is not counting the people who are going to lose their jobs from DAS enterprises. That is not counting reductions in staffing in Telstra. That is not counting all the other public servants who have gone. And that is just this financial year. That is not next financial year or the financial year after that. While we do not know the numbers, what we do know is that in each of those subsequent three years there will be a 3 per cent cut in running costs. Mr Speaker, you cannot cut 3 per cent in running costs every year for four years without cutting Public Service numbers. That is their record - fewer public servants in Canberra.

Mr Speaker, for every three public servants they sack, another person in the private sector, who makes a living out of servicing those people, will lose his or her job as well. So, if 3,000 public servants lose their jobs, that is another 1,000 who will lose their jobs in the service sector in this city, servicing those public servants. That is the reality, Mr Speaker. Mrs Carnell might like to put her rose-coloured glasses on - and close her eyes, just to be on the safe side - but the reality is that this Federal budget will do devastating things to the economy in this Territory.

Mr Speaker, Mrs Carnell cannot really launch this kind of stinging criticism, which she ought to, of what Mr Howard is doing to this Territory. She cannot, because it is her own policy. She, too, is going around looking for opportunities to downsize here, there and everywhere in the ACT Public Service. She never misses an opportunity to reduce the number of public servants. One of her first actions on coming into government


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