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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (22 May) . . Page.. 1617 ..

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. You said that we have been given an undertaking. I have seen only a very broad draft agreement. What is the legal status of that undertaking?

MRS CARNELL: It is an agreement between two governments. I think I adequately answered that at length last week. I tabled the statement from the person who was acting head of the NCPA at that stage. It laid down his understanding of exactly what the situation was. I suggest that Ms Tucker have a look at the papers that were tabled last week.

Employment Statistics

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, have you been informed or have you seen the finding in the Morgan and Banks report announced today that 25 per cent of Canberra employers are going to lay off employees in the next six months? The statement I have, which is a media summary, says:

Almost twenty-eight hundred employers, across the public and private sectors -

that is Australia-wide -

have been surveyed on their plans for the three months, May to July. Eighteen per cent say they'll shed jobs, compared with fourteen per cent, the previous quarter.

Most significantly, it states:

In the ACT, almost twenty-five per cent of organisations say there'll be cuts against only twenty-four per cent planning to put on workers.

Chief Minister, how can you reconcile such troublesome statistics with your persistent and discredited claims that your Government is good for Canberra?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I understand that the Morgan and Banks job index revealed healthy optimism amongst small- and medium-sized businesses in the ACT - which, remember, are the vast majority of the businesses here in the ACT. It indicated that a quarter of small and medium businesses in the ACT intended putting on staff in the next three months. I think that indicates real optimism about the ACT economy which reflects confidence in this Government and, most importantly, confidence in the future of Canberra. Mr Speaker, those opposite seem to continually want to say, "It is all doom and gloom. We simply cannot get on with the job here". We must. The vast majority of our businesses in the ACT are looking beyond short-term problems, which certainly exist, and looking to a city that has enormous potential and a government that is willing to get behind them.

I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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