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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 May 1995) . . Page.. 491 ..

Mr Kaine: Now they are flogging them off.

MR HIRD: Now they are flogging them off. But I will say this: Corporatisation does not mean, as has been said by those people across there, that the current employment arrangements for the staff will be denied and there will be unemployment. I know from my own employment past, when I worked in a statutory authority - the Canberra Commercial Development Authority, which was sold off promptly by the Labor Government in 1986 - that all staff currently employed by an enterprise will automatically be transferred to the corporatised business, with no reduction in pay or conditions. Corporatisation allows managers to manage. It provides the business with more flexibility in terms of pursuing new opportunities which generate more jobs, not fewer. It is quite clear that they do not understand that.

Let us talk about the Federal Government's budget last evening. They talk about spending on the Russell Offices, $56m; the National Film and Sound Archive, $11.6m; the Old Parliament House, $5.2m; the AFP building, $1.7m; and so on. They do not talk about spending anything on the Museum of Australia. They have been talking about it for a long time; but I notice that, once again, they have pushed it aside. They cannot bite the bullet at the Federal level and make a decision.

On that matter of expenditure, you will recall, Mr Speaker, the big hoo-ha from the national Government about the Foreign Affairs building - how it was going to create jobs and give employment for the unemployed in the ACT. This statement was made by the former Minister, Mrs Kelly, who is not well spoken of at the moment in the Labor camp, as I understand it. Mrs Kelly said that there would be a generous amount of employment.

Mr Kaine: Twelve hundred jobs.

MR HIRD: Yes; 1,200 jobs. In fact, most of the jobs went to people from interstate; they did not come from the ACT. I know that Margaret Reid will soon be Deputy President of the Senate. Congratulations. She will make history, I think, after the next Federal election. She will be the first female president of that chamber; and I congratulate her for that.

Mr Kaine: She will.

MR HIRD: Yes; I know that we are going to win. I heard someone - it may have been Mr Berry - say that employment levels were up as a result of this Commonwealth budget. It is not true. I have in my hand the ACT Treasury’s Federal budget notes. Let us look at this. The budget papers indicate that the Commonwealth plans to reduce - guess what - staffing levels by 1,800 positions, or 1.4 per cent, in 1995-96. In particular - Mr Berry, I know that you are interested in these little matters - the Department of Employment, Education and Training will lose 700 positions.

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