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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2681 ..

Suspension of Standing and Temporary Orders

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent Assembly business having precedence over all other business at the conclusion of Question Time, today, 19 November 1998, until the conclusion of consideration of the following Assembly business:

any order of the day relating to the disallowance of Instrument No. 189 of 1998;

any order of the day relating to the proposed establishment of the Select Committee on the Territory's Superannuation Liability; and

any order of the day relating to the referral of a matter to the Standing Committee on Health and Community Care.

Sitting suspended from 12.24 pm to 2.30 pm


Centrelink - Job Losses

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is directed to the Chief Minister. Given the decision by workers at Centrelink to walk off the job today in protest at the Commonwealth's decision to reduce staffing levels, can the Chief Minister say how many Canberrans will lose their jobs?

MS CARNELL: I do not know that the beginning of that sentence and the end of it went together particularly. I think the decision of the Federal Government with regard to Centrelink downsizing is totally atrocious. I have been making those comments in the media and in public. I do not think that the ACT should have been targeted, as it appears to have been, unfairly. It appears that the number of redundancies coming out of the ACT is significantly higher, or potentially higher, than is the case for the rest of Australia.

The argument put by the Commonwealth is that - and I will attempt to help members of the Assembly understand this - over the last few years Centrelink and the Department of Social Security have been working on a new computer system to bring both DSS and what were the CES files together. That is a very sensible approach. I think everyone would agree that the situation in the past where clients ended up with a different file at CES and DSS was an inefficient approach.

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