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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 August 2019) . . Page.. 2630 ..

In closing, I thank those who have made contributions to the development of the plan and who are working closely with government to restore this unique and highly valued landscape.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Essential services—public ownership

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM SPEAKER: I have received letters from Ms Cheyne, Ms Cody, Mr Coe, Mr Gupta, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Le Couteur, Mr Milligan, Ms Orr, Mr Parton and Mr Pettersson proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Mr Pettersson be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The importance of ACT essential services remaining in public hands.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (3.28): At a time when essential services and the public service are increasingly coming under attack from the federal Liberal government it is more important than ever that we highlight the significant role that our government must play in providing these services. Essential services like education, health care, transport and emergency services are all integral parts of the ACT community and part of what has made Canberra the city it is today. These are all services that most of us can agree are called essential for a reason. They are all things our community would not function without and are things any good government has an obligation to provide.

Privatisation of essential services in Australia has a dangerous history that we should look to not repeat in many aspects here in the ACT. Put simply, the privatisation of essential services leads to companies prioritising profit over service delivery. We are lucky that many public services have not been privatised in the ACT, and we need to make sure it stays that way.

Canberra is a proud public service town and Canberrans should be proud that many of our essential services have remained in public hands. Keeping these services in public hands is key to protecting them. Recently—and this is a wonderful accomplishment of this government—we have taken the fantastic step of bringing ACT school cleaners in house, employing them directly through the ACT government in order to protect their wages, employment conditions and jobs. Without the strong culture we see in the ACT of protecting essential services from privatisation this step would never have been possible.

We should also be proud of our fantastic, publicly owned CIT. Any moves to privatise CIT will result in significant price increases and a reduction in course offerings. We can guarantee that these services will never be privatised by the Labor government. We recognise the value of a government-run CIT in skilling up the workforce of the future.

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