Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 11 Hansard (17 September) . . Page.. 3255..
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.
MR GENTLEMAN: Chief Minister, what sort of structural adjustments will you be discussing with the Prime Minister?
MS GALLAGHER: That remains to be seen and I would welcome the advice from the new federal government around their specific plans for Canberra. We have heard a lot of speculation and talk in generalities but we do not have any detail around the timetable for those changes, the speed with which the federal government intends to move. All we have got to work on is 12,000 to 20,000 jobs by natural attrition over two years, but there have been other efficiencies announced in the election campaign.
In other cities where there has been loss of jobs in the order of 200 or 300, there have been significant investments made by the commonwealth government, whether it is packages around retraining or investments in other industries, to grow other industries. Of course, we have a range of infrastructure projects that we would welcome commonwealth support for.
I think the issue I am putting on the table now is this: in every other local community where there is a significant change or a reduction in employment or a change in the industry base, the federal government comes and they invest and they look after their fellow Australians. The point I am making is that that approach should be seen and be taken in exactly the same way towards Canberrans as it is in any other area around Australia.
Construction industry—long service leave
MR SMYTH: My question is for the minister for industrial relations. The government has recently announced an increase in the construction industry levy from 1.75 per cent to 2.5 per cent of gross wages. This is on top of last year's increase from 1.25 per cent to 1.75 per cent. In justifying this, you have been on the record noting that the very clear advice from the board—that is, the Long Service Leave Authority board—is that this is the level it needs to be set at to achieve the ongoing viability of the scheme. Minister, why is the fund not delivering the adequate investment returns for this portable long service scheme to work?
MR CORBELL: It is not delivering it because of the downturn in investment returns made by the board in its other investments, both in terms of the financial market and at an earlier stage in relation to some of its property investment.
I am pleased to say that, in relation to its property investment, as a result of steps taken by the board the return on its property investments has considerably improved. But the long-term consequences of the downturn in investments in the global financial markets have had an impact on the funds available to the board to administer the long service leave arrangements for the construction industry.
As minister, my view has been consistent and clear on this issue. Actuarial advice consistently provided to the board, and subsequently provided to me, has confirmed