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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (16 April) . . Page.. 914 ..

Ms McRae: Why don't you answer it?

MRS CARNELL: It is exactly what I am answering. What we have to do in this city is ensure that we do have other jobs, that we do have an active and vibrant private sector to pick up the tab. It is the job of every government in this country to make its budget balance. It is up to every government - Labor or Liberal - not to spend money that it does not have. That will inevitably mean, as it did under the previous Labor Federal Government and as it did under the previous Follett Government, reductions in the number of people that work for governments all over this country.

So, it is the role of this Government - and we are taking it seriously, unlike the previous Government - to ensure that the private sector has a future in this town. It will happen only if we are competitive in terms of our rates and our charges, and if we can make business decisions quickly. That has been the approach we have taken since we came to government. It is just a real pity, Mr Speaker, that this approach did not start four years ago. We would then be in a much better position to offer jobs in this city to the 7.8 per cent of Canberrans who do not have jobs.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, taking account of the glib generalisations of the Chief Minister, can I ask the Chief Minister by way of a supplementary question: Does this mean that you support your Industrial Relations Minister, Mr De Domenico, when he says, "My reaction to public sector job cuts is, `So what!'."?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I was not at this particular supposed meeting, and I do not necessarily trust what is reported in the media. I know very well that Mr De Domenico's view is that we do have a problem with reductions in Commonwealth Government employees, but what we have to do is look to the future. What we have to do as a Government and as an Assembly is create an environment where the private sector can employ in this town, where we can end up with new businesses coming to Canberra and setting up. Unfortunately, again, Mr Speaker, that was not started four years ago, or for that matter at self-government, when it should have been started. We have had to start it in the last 14 months. It is a long job for this city; but already there are 2,300 more jobs than there were 14 months ago. Compare that with 700 jobs in the previous 12 months.

Australian Public Service - Job Cuts

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I ask a question of the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, in recent days there has been a fair amount of what seems to be ill-informed and unproductive comment about the possibility of job cuts in the Australian Public Service.

Mr Berry: Is it this "ill-informed" stuff you are talking about: "Exodus to follow Public Service cuts"?

MR SPEAKER: Order! We do not want to see your laundry list, Mr Berry. Ask your question, Mr Kaine.

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