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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 5 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1457..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I do note in terms of the federal budget that there is additional funding for some mass participation sports and for active Australia-type programs, which are mentioned in the report that you have. Some of the recommendations are that the federal government should be a little bit more involved there than it has been in the past. I would expect a detailed discussion of that report when we have our next ministerial meeting in July. Sadly, for the reasons I have indicated, we could not have it in February.

ACT Public Service

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. I have given a lot of thought to how to ask my question and whether to ask it, Mr Speaker, but I do feel that it is something that needs to be asked and clarified. Chief Minister, is it true that the new head of the ACT public service has, in fact, not resigned from the Commonwealth public service but has only taken leave without pay?

MS CARNELL: My understanding is that that is probably true, although I will get more information on that. I think that Mr Tonkin is here on a secondment at the moment. In fact, I am fairly confident that he is here on secondment. That secondment could be a very long secondment. We certainly hope that it will be because he has a lot of experience. He has certainly slotted into the job extremely efficiently. The huge amount of experience he has had in the public service already has been of benefit to the ACT public service.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. No doubt that is true, Chief Minister, but what type of message do you think that it sends to the ACT public service and servants when they discover that their boss is, in fact, still a Commonwealth public servant?

MS CARNELL: I think that it sends an extraordinarily good message because, I have to say, it is only recently that any federal or Commonwealth public servant has deigned to put a foot in the door of the ACT public service. The general view of the ACT public service when it was set up at self-government was that it was a backwater. Is that not the truth for those who have been here? It was very much the case that the ACT was the poor relation.

Mr Moore: Eleven years ago today.

MS CARNELL: The fact that very senior Commonwealth public servants now want to come to the ACT is a real step forward in the credibility and the strength of the ACT public service. I think that we will find that public servants in the ACT are very pleased to have Commonwealth public servants wanting to come to the ACT, not just other state public servants.

Mr Moore has reminded me that it was 11 years today that the ACT Assembly started to sit. So, Mr Speaker, it is a very appropriate day for that question.

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