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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 139 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

to public sector employment. Do they believe the ACT Government has employed more public servants or do they believe the Howard Government has employed more people? I am quite happy to hear them say that. I am not concerned about that at all, but that is not the approach they have taken. If nearly an extra 1,000 people have entered the work force between August 1997 and now and if they are not in the public sector but in the private sector, I have to say that the figures are not too far off. For the information of members of the Assembly, I am happy to table those figures.

MR STANHOPE: I ask a supplementary question. Does the Chief Minister accept that the inaccurate use of statistics in such a comparison seriously tests her credibility as an analyst of economic indicators?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is not inaccurate at all. If those opposite suggest that a spokesperson of mine said that there are 90,000 jobs when there are really 87,000, they do not have enough to think about. Surely we should be worrying about jobs. There are 3,300 more jobs now than there were when we came to office. And guess what, Mr Speaker. They are full-time jobs. I am not surprised that those opposite simply do not want to know the reality of the situation. The fact is that the ACT economy has got through a very tough time in 1996. The economy is now back in growth. We have more jobs in the economy now than we had in 1995 when we came to government. Those 3,300 additional jobs are full-time jobs. I am not surprised that those opposite are embarrassed, but I am proud of it.

Parking Inspectors

MR HIRD: Is the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Smyth, aware of the allegation made by Mr John Hargreaves on 2CN radio on 22 April that special events are targeted by parking inspectors? Mr Hargreaves claimed that hundreds of motorists got tickets at the opening of the Tuggeranong skate park and that parking inspectors were targeting special events as a cynical revenue-raising exercise. My question, Mr Speaker, is: Has Mr Hargreaves fabricated this entire story? Has he misled the people of Canberra? Has he had a cheap shot at the Government, with no information whatsoever, or has Mr Hargreaves simply denigrated the parking inspectors, who are public servants of Canberra, by having a go at them without any basis in fact?

MR SMYTH: I thank Mr Hird for his question. When I awoke last Wednesday to hear the ABC news and Mr Hargreaves's tones afterwards, I wondered what I had unleashed on the people of Canberra, who these hundreds of poor people who had been victimised at a social function were and whether we had really gone out and targeted the Canberra skateboard park opening. When I went to work, I expected the phones to go all day long. I expected call after call of complaint. Do you know how many calls I received, Mr Speaker? I received none, not a one. That was the same number of people who called in to complain on the Cathy Van Extel program - none.

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