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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1282 ..

Mr Berry: I will explain it to her.

MR SPEAKER: You will do nothing of the sort. The Chief Minister is in the middle of answering a question.

MRS CARNELL: On the first issue, which is redundancies and small government and downsizing, we will not spend money that we do not have. We will have the most efficient government we can; we will not spend money that we do not have. We have put less money into redundancies than the previous Government did because we believe strongly that we should be using redeployment wherever possible, that we should use natural attrition wherever possible - all of the approaches that I think are about good management.

Mr Berry also made some comments with regard to jobs in this city. It is very interesting that in October last year, when we had been in power for quite a number of months, we had a peak of the employment number recorded. We had a peak not just in employment but also in participation rates. There is no doubt that since then, and this Government has said it time and time again, there have been problems; but we still have a situation where we have more jobs than we had when we took over. In fact, one of the very interesting statistics - Mr Berry does not like numbers because he cannot understand them - is that if the participation rate now was the same as it was last March, when we came to power, the unemployment rate now would be 7.3 per cent, the lowest in Australia.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I will put it plainly. Will Mrs Carnell accept that her and John Howard's policies have damaged the ACT?

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Carnell cannot speak for the Prime Minister. Continue, Chief Minister.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I would like to disagree with you on that point. The fact of the matter is that Mrs Carnell is responsible for the wreckage that is going to be left behind here and she should be able to answer to her constituency on whether or not it is going to damage the ACT.

MR SPEAKER: You can disagree if you like, but the fact is that she is not in a position to speak for the Prime Minister. Continue, Chief Minister.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I would suggest that, with Mr Berry's constant interjections and disagreement with you, he must be very close to being named. I am extremely happy to answer the part of the question that I am responsible for, and that is our policies and how they have affected the ACT economy.

I will pick one particular area, and that is our business incentive scheme. Since we came to office about 15 months ago, that scheme has meant that a number of businesses have decided to relocate into the ACT, AOFR and ADC being a major one which will provide some 300 to 400 extra jobs on a straight basis of ACT Government policy. We also have another eight proposals that are in various stages of the assessment and approval process.

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