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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 849 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

opposite showed so adequately when they were in government that having huge central redundancy pools and going to across-the-board cuts in the Public Service achieves absolutely nothing, except significant costs to the Government.

I seem to remember that those opposite spent over $30m on redundancies when they were in government and achieved a very small reduction in the Public Service. They spent money for nothing. This Government stands by the view that those sorts of systemic cuts in the Public Service achieve nothing and are destabilising for the Public Service generally. But I have to say that we stood for election on the basis of reducing our operating loss. When I and other Ministers were asked at length whether that meant that there would be reductions in staff, we all said, "Yes, there would". But the fact is that they would not be systemic. They would be targeted to the areas where we could cut staff and continue to provide services. That was the commitment to the electorate, and we stand by it, and we are reducing the operating loss.

MR BERRY: I ask a supplementary question of the Minister who knows everything. My question is to the Minister who knows everything, the Chief Minister, as it should be. Can she say how the department has made the one-off savings that Mr Butt says will pay for the redundancies? How much has been saved and what programs have been cut to realise them? Could you fill us in on that detail?

MS CARNELL: Mr Moore has made it clear, as have all of the Ministers, that we have to reduce the operating expenditures of our departments. Every one of us is in the same boat. We know, as those opposite have said - - -

Mr Berry: So the answer is no?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Berry! Sit down. You have asked your supplementary question.

MS CARNELL: Mr Moore has made it clear in this place, and in fact on the front page of the Canberra Times, about the reductions in staffing needed at the Canberra Hospital. We take the operating loss seriously. Obviously, Mr Berry does not. In fact, those opposite showed that when they were in government. Mr Berry is the person who thinks he can solve the economic situation in the ACT by spending the cash in the balance sheet. What more can you say?

Mr Speaker, in all areas, including Mr Moore's, we will be looking for redundancies in targeted areas, and have done so ever since we have been in government. That will continue, because we still have a $150m operating loss. Those opposite continue to oppose any asset sale.

Mr Berry: Yes.

MS CARNELL: That is true?

Mr Berry: Yes.

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