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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 4072 ..

MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

to satisfy the burgeoning demand in the ACT housing market. A more laughable proposition than that would be hard to come across. The only thing that stops me laughing is that it is such a serious matter. There is no way that spending $2.5m is going to get developers to build new houses in a falling housing market - - -

Mrs Carnell: They are not our figures, Mr Whitecross. The Housing Industry Association think it will.

MR WHITECROSS: No, I do not think that is strictly correct, Mrs Carnell, and I think you should be very careful how you use that number. I think it is very unlikely that $2.5m out of the Government's coffers is going to cause housing developers in Canberra to rush out and build 500 new houses to satisfy demand in a falling market when there is already plenty of stock out there.

Mrs Carnell: That is what the housing industry said in writing.

MR WHITECROSS: What the housing industry said was that if they built 500 new houses that would create 1,000 jobs, Mrs Carnell. They did not say that they would build 500 new houses, as you well know. Playing fast and loose with the truth is, of course, Mrs Carnell's stock-in-trade. We have already got to 2,000 of the 2,700 jobs without - - -

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, Mr Whitecross has been playing fairly fast and loose with the standing orders throughout his speech. I think the last remark, essentially calling Mrs Carnell a liar, is clearly an inference which is outside standing orders and should be withdrawn and not repeated.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw, Mr Whitecross.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, if Mr Humphries interprets my remark as meaning that Mrs Carnell is a liar, I withdraw the remark. In relation to a whole series of the other claims by the Government about jobs, we saw again and again that the jobs were not there. They were jobs which involved the normal replacement of staff but were called new jobs; they were temporary jobs; they were part-time jobs.

Mr Speaker, the jobs claim simply does not stand up, and nobody should allow this Government to get away with the claim that this is a budget about jobs. Mr Speaker, there is one thing that gives the lie to all the Government's rhetoric about this, and that is Mrs Carnell's own economic projections that there will be 1.5 per cent fewer jobs in Canberra at the end of this financial year than there were at the beginning and that the jobs growth over the next three years will be zero per cent. While Mrs Carnell dresses up her budget with the media hype - the media claims of a jobs budget - the fact is that there are no significant new jobs in this budget. The fact is that in this budget Mrs Carnell has done nothing to address the underlying problem of unemployment in this city. What we have, in fact, is a Government which is sitting on its hands and doing nothing practical about the problem of falling job numbers.

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