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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1190 ..

Ms McRae: Or their job is abolished. Go on with you!

MRS CARNELL: If their jobs are abolished, then they are offered redeployment, retraining and any number of other approaches. It is that simple. Mr Speaker, again with regard to those comments, we are very concerned about speculation that currently exists at the Federal level. We have made it very clear to Mr Howard that we do not believe that this sort of speculation is doing anything for Canberra, and we have also made it extremely clear that Canberra must not be targeted, must not be used as an easy political scapegoat because a bit of Canberra bashing, some people out there in the rest of Australia believe, is not such a bad deal. That sort of approach simply will not be accepted either by this Government or by the people of Canberra.

To complete this answer, it is important to say, as I know that Ms Follett did on many occasions, that the future of this city does not lie with growth in the public sector. Ms Follett regularly got up, stood in this spot and said that future employment growth in Canberra was based upon growth in the private sector. We totally agree with that approach. We do not just agree; we are actually doing something about it, Mr Speaker. Doing something about it means getting in there and encouraging businesses to this city and providing the appropriate incentive packages and the appropriate situation and climate to allow businesses to grow.

It was very encouraging last week to be opening new office space in this city for BHP Information Technology, a company that has been here since 1989 but believes strongly enough in the Canberra economy to be expanding from being just a service provider to actually working up and doing research here and selling some of their research software products to the Victorian Government, the Northern Territory Government and offshore as well. Even with the problems that exist at the Federal level, it is great to see companies such as BHP IT have the confidence in this city that certainly we on this side of the house do. I believe that that is the appropriate approach. We must get in there and we must encourage the private sector; but at the same time we need to be telling our Federal colleagues, as we are, that targeting Canberra is just not on.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, my supplementary question is: Does the Chief Minister really believe that Mr De Domenico did not make these remarks that he was reported to have made? Is she concerned that he may have offended public servants and businesses by implying that there was no effect from these changes, when clearly there is an effect? Will you repeat your assurance just given that any ACT public servant who loses their job will be offered another job at the same level?

MRS CARNELL: What we have said quite definitely is that there will not be any involuntary redundancies; that any public servant whose job, for whatever reason, no longer exists will be offered redeployment and retraining. That has been the case the whole way through. That is exactly the position that we have always had. Mr Speaker, I certainly did not hear Mr De Domenico make any of those comments. I know perfectly well that he is, as I am, very concerned about public sector cuts that are at anything like the sort of level we have heard bandied about by those opposite,

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