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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 497..


Federal funding cuts

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.56): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the actions already taken and the announced intentions of the Rudd Labor Government to slash funding for Federal Government departments and programs;

(b) the direct and potential impact of these funding cuts in the ACT's economy including lost Australian Public Service jobs;

(c) reduced services, projects and programs at national institutions such as the National Capital Authority, the Australian National Museum, the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial; and

(d) the Chief Minister's statement, made at the ACT Budget breakfast on 6 June 2007 that "We are susceptible as a small jurisdiction in that we don't have our destiny entirely in our hands ... Decisions that the Federal Government might make, particularly if there is a change of Government, could have significant impacts on employment levels or construction activity and our budget would suffer immediately"; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to detail what it has done since the Rudd Labor Government came to office and what it will do to counter the impact of the Federal Government cuts promised or already actioned.

This motion is about the cuts that have been announced by the newly elected Rudd Labor government and the cuts that are to come, in particular the cuts as they apply to Canberra and the people of the ACT. I will address the various parts of the motion.

It is worth looking at where some of the cuts will be coming from. Funding for the National Gallery will be cut by $196,000 this year; by $853,000 in 2008-09; by $881,000 in 2009-10 and by $909,000 in 2010-11. Funding for the National Library will be reduced by $269,000 this year; by $1.186 million in 2008-09; by $1.192 million in 2009-10 and by $1.196 million in 2010-11. That is a total of over $3.8 million. Funding for the National Museum will be reduced by $188,000 this year; by $823,000 in 2008-09; by $829,000 in 2009-10 and by $836,000 in 2010-11—over $2.6 million in total.

The recently announced cuts to the NCA essentially will gut that organisation. Thirty-three jobs will go from a total of about 87 staff. Essentially, many of the key services that have been delivered by the NCA over a period of time will be slashed. I think it is worth looking at the impact of these cuts on Canberra and also at the various responses to them. It is also worth looking at the cuts in the context of what the ALP is doing around the country. It is all well and good for them to say that they need to make savings in the context of the, I think, $17 billion surplus at the moment,


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