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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 138 ..



MR STANHOPE: My question is to the Chief Minister. What specific statistical reference - that is, what sort of ABS or other data - was used by the Chief Minister's spokesman, with whom the Chief Minister concurred in question time yesterday, to support the statement reported in the Canberra Times of 19 April that on the election of the Howard Government in 1996 Canberra had an estimated 75,000 jobs in each of the public and private sectors? Similarly, what specific statistical data was used to support the claim that this year Canberra has 90,000 jobs in the private sector and 60,000 in the public sector?

MS CARNELL: I find this an absolutely amazing question. I will table the data at the end of this answer. The statistics that were used by my spokesperson for that particular comment were the August 1997 figures, the latest quarterly figures available at that stage. It is fascinating that those opposite are not in any way interested in the number of jobs in the ACT economy right now. They are interested in how many are in the public sector and how many are in the private sector, not the fact that there are 3,300 more jobs now than when we came to government - 3,300 new full-time jobs. It strikes me that that is something that should cause those opposite to get up and say, "Well done, Government. Have you not done a great job in ensuring that, even with the Commonwealth Government downsizing, there are more full-time jobs in the ACT economy now than there were when you came to power?".

It does not require a genius to work out that, if the Commonwealth sheds up to 10,000 jobs - and those are the sorts of figures that those opposite have used - and the ACT Public Service is smaller now than when we came to government, those are all jobs out of the public sector and that, if you have 3,300 more jobs than when you started, they must be in the private sector. Where else would they be, Mr Berry?

Mr Berry: What a guess! Have another guess.

MS CARNELL: Mr Berry, would you suggest that there is another sector? The statistics that were used - I will table them, for the information of members - show that in August 1997 the ACT Government had 17,700 people and the Commonwealth Government had 51,100. That means that total government employment - and I accept that means that it is not exact - was 68,800. Total employment was 156,200. That means that the private sector employment was 87,400. I have to say that maybe the Canberra Times got it wrong. It was not 60,000 : 90,000; it was 68,000 : 87,000. I do not think that is a huge difference.

Total employment in the ACT has risen since that time. That is the sort of thing that we should be looking at. The latest ABS statistics indicate that we have 157,100 jobs in the ACT, more than the 156,200 in August 1997. I wonder where those opposite think those extra approximately 1,000 jobs are. They have been fairly negative about our approach

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