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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 229 ..

Public Service - Advertising with Pay Slips

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, you are probably aware that, for the first time, today's ACT Public Service pay slips also contained junk mail as a result of a revenue-raising deal with a private advertising company. In this case, the A4 size advertisement was promoting an insurance company. According to a memo sent to all staff by the Commissioner for Public Administration, the advertising company engaged by the Government is to implement a marketing strategy to attract advertisers. We do wonder what sorts of goods and services might get a plug. The Minister also will be aware that many people do not like receiving unsolicited advertising, which is why so many Canberrans have "No Junk Mail" stickers on their letterboxes. My question is: Will you recognise the distaste many people have for junk mail by giving public servants a choice about whether they receive such material with their pay slips, or do public servants who object to such material now need to put "No Junk Mail" stickers on their pigeonholes and in-trays as well?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, a pilot pay slip advertising scheme is being trialled in the ACT Public Service; actually, it commenced yesterday. It is proposed that this trial be for a 12-month period. The period will allow for adequate time to assess the viabilities and the impacts of the scheme. A similar scheme has already been successfully undertaken by the Queensland Government. This scheme is anticipated to generate approximately $15,000 in revenue per year. All revenue received from the scheme will be reinvested in training and development opportunities for ACT public servants to improve service delivery to the ACT community. This represents another example of the ACT Public Service's commitment to seeking out new and innovative ways of doing business.

A private sector advertising firm operating in Canberra - TMP Worldwide - has undertaken a comprehensive marketing strategy to attract potential advertisers to the pilot scheme, with an excellent initial response, including the CPS Credit Union and SmartCover. I will not make any comments on the people who are involved in SmartCover, but those opposite would know them quite well, Mr Speaker. Guidelines have also been developed to ensure that advertising material is suitable and does not conflict with Government policies, activities or legislation. All advertising will be approved by the ACT Government prior to inclusion with pay slips and will be focused on providing information of benefit to staff.

MS TUCKER: I wish to ask a supplementary question. The question was not answered. I said, "Will you give public servants an opportunity not to be part of this pilot scheme?". I assumed you to mean that they will not be. My supplementary question is: Given that the revenue raised is to be used for training and development programs, does this mean that the level of training and development of ACT public servants will now be contingent on how many advertising dollars the Public Service can attract? For what other aspects of government activity will we need sponsorship?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, this is extra money that will go into training every year. I do not think there is any organisation that could say that extra training dollars would not be of benefit. This proposal has come from the Public Service itself. I do not think my Cabinet colleagues would have even known about it. It has come from the public sector.

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