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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3690 ..

We are not going to answer that question, are we Mr Leigh? Ross Solly said:

You cannot give that guarantee can you?

Andrew Leigh replied:

No-one can give that guarantee.

After all the Labor Party’s posturing, after all their claims, all their crocodile tears, where does this leave the Labor Party? It is the party that cannot provide any guarantee to public servants that they will not lose their jobs or be made redundant by a Gillard federal government.

The Labor Party must be judged on this statement from Andrew Leigh. Under a federal Labor government there will be uncertainty and there will be instability in the public service. There can be no escape for the Labor Party from this conclusion. The only way in which a strong and stable ACT economy can be maintained and enhanced in the longer term is for the encouragement to be provided for increased diversification of our economic state. (Time expired.)

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.44): A strong and stable economy means an economy that can provide the opportunities for all members of the community to make a contribution to the community and provide for themselves and their families. According to the traditional measures, we do have a very strong economy in the ACT. We have the third lowest unemployment rate in the country, about one per cent lower than the national average. We have no mining industry, yet, by one measure, we were the best performing economy and only recently lost that position to Western Australia.

No-one doubts that a stable, prosperous and sustainable economy is vital. I think it is fair to say they we all differ on how we achieve those three things and how much work there is to be done. As I said, we do currently enjoy a stable and prosperous economy here in the ACT. We are the most well educated and well paid community in the country. In spite of this, there are many in the community who are doing it tough. As a decent and caring society, we have an obligation to do something to ameliorate their difficulties. There is much to be done to improve the social inequity in our community and provide the safeguards needed for those who do not enjoy the prosperity of the majority.

There can be no doubt either that we also need to do an awful lot more to become a sustainable economy. This is indeed a challenge that all economies face. Developed or developing, we still rely on fossil fuels. As one of the wealthiest economies in the world, we have an obligation to lead the way, to change the way we do things. For long-term stability and prosperity, we need to shift to a low carbon economy. We know, and it is shown in many reputable economic studies, the most notable being the Stern and Garnaut reports, that those who act first will do best. Those who listen to the science, acknowledge the reality and act on it will ultimately come out best. They will be the economies rewarded with diversified income streams, with new and sustainable jobs and world-class industries for which there is a long-term demand.

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