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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 April 2008) . . Page.. 1131 ..


$46 million go from the Griffin legacy, with attendant consequences throughout the ACT economy in the number of projects along Constitution Avenue that can now no longer go ahead. We also saw in recurrent terms the loss of 36 positions at the National Capital Authority, which will now, of course, be followed by an inquiry chaired by the senator who is responsible for the cuts in the first place with her bitterness and her approach to her relationship with the National Capital Authority.

We saw $2.8 million taken from the national gallery, $3.8 million from the library and $2.6 million from the national museum. Centrelink will lose 2,000 jobs and defence IT contractors will be cut by 388 jobs, 91 of which will be in Canberra. We have seen the human rights commission cut. Can you believe a Labor government would do that, Mr Speaker? Well, yes they would. Of course, we saw cuts to DFAT as well. My understanding is that industry programs have also suffered.

Of course, the loss of these jobs and the spending on such essential projects as maintaining and enhancing Canberra as the nation’s capital is regrettable. But there is an equally profound impact, and that is the follow-through of this onto the Canberra business community. Now there is an assumption, both by the Stanhope government—clearly seen in its business-bashing approach to industry policy—and by the Rudd government with its almost unthinking cuts to programs directly affecting Canberra that business does not matter and that, irrespective of what each Labor government does, business will quietly get on with what it does best. The reality is quite the opposite, particularly here in Canberra.

The private sector in Canberra, the business community, is getting to the point where it is saying that enough is enough. You only have to see comments and recent articles in the Canberra Times to see the chamber of commerce and the Canberra business council saying that they regret what is about to happen. But more than that, it is interesting to read the approach from the Canberra business council where they say that the ACT government should do more to broaden the territory’s economy, which would mean fewer peaks and troughs. Of course, when asked today what he was doing to address this issue, the Chief Minister could not come up with a single initiative that he has put in place since the advent of the Rudd government that will slow down or ameliorate the effect that we are seeing from the impacts of the Rudd government.

We have got the reports now: we have got Hudson’s, we have got Sensis, we have got commentary from Westpac, we have got a report from ANZ, we have got commentary from Access Economics and, of course, from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, all of whom are saying that the economy is slowing, and we have got Jon Stanhope with his head in the sand. You only had to listen to him today. In answering the first two questions he was quite strident. There he was out there saying, “There is nothing wrong with my economy. Don’t you know?” Obviously then he got the notes and he paid attention and he countered by saying, “Yes, we understand there is a little bit going on, but it’s okay; we’ll get through.” When you ask him specifically to nominate what he will do, he says, “Well, we’ve done lots, but you will have to wait until the budget.”

The reality is the government has done nothing. The government has done absolutely nothing except attack business since it got in. We see it in the announcement of their


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