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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3696 ..

welcoming of the federal government’s investment in the building the education revolution program.

Mr Doszpot: But you still will not go out to see them.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot. It would be a pity to warn you again today, would it not?

MR BARR: They were able to put that investment from the commonwealth government towards a most constructive education purpose. Not only are there improved educational outcomes that result from that investment here in the territory but also it kept the construction industry working and kept a number of apprentices in employment.

I know Mr Hanson attended the construction industry training council awards that were held last week. He was there representing the Liberal Party and it was good to see him there. He would be aware, and I am sure he has passed it on to his colleagues, just how important the building the education revolution funding package was to maintain employment in the construction sector of the ACT economy—a very important investment. On that point I do note, and I will acknowledge that this is probably the best I will ever get from Mr Smyth, that he stopped short of criticising the implementation of the BER in the ACT.

Mr Smyth: Have I ever?

MR BARR: No, and I will acknowledge—and this is confirmed by the Orgill report, and indeed confirmed by those who were involved in delivering projects in the ACT and in those schools—that in fact, as a result of the actions of this government—

Mr Smyth: The non-government schools did particularly well, though, across the country.

MR BARR: The ACT public system got the best results in terms of costs per square metre of any system in Australia, public or private. That, Madam Deputy Speaker, is testimony to the outstanding efforts of the capital works area within my Department of Education and Training—the best results of any school system in Australia, and they deserve to be congratulated.

While we are on the subject of the public sector and the matter of public importance before us today, it would be remiss of me not to respond to Mr Smyth’s observations about changing employment levels within commonwealth government agencies. Of course, in the context of a change of government and a change of priorities at a federal level it is not unusual that there would be a change in employment levels within agencies. Mr Smyth read out a list the other day of agencies that had had a reduction in staffing levels. What he did not, of course, read out was the list of agencies that had an increase and nor did he look at the totality of employment within the public sector.

It is worth noting that in 2007-08 the total general government sector employment, across all federal government agencies, was 248,217. The budgeted average staffing

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