Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1363 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think Mr Osborne has brought up this issue before. He is not here. Ensuring that the superannuation provision account is not touched by governments in the future is something that the Government does totally support and it is something that we will be moving to do.
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer, Mrs Carnell. Is the Chief Minister aware of the comment made yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Stanhope, that the Government was slashing the number of ACT public servants in its latest budget? Can the Chief Minister confirm to the parliament whether the practice of offering voluntary redundancies to ACT public servants actually began under this Government?
MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Hird, for that question. Mr Speaker, you have heard the saying that a week is a very long time in politics. Well, if that is true, then I have to say that 41/2 years appears to be beyond the collective memories of those sitting opposite. If you believe people like Mr Stanhope and Mr Berry, the idea of voluntary redundancies is something that only appeared recently and under a Liberal government.
Mr Speaker, to fully answer Mr Hird's question, let us get some basic facts on the table. Yesterday this Government announced that it would seek to offer approximately 450 voluntary redundancies across several agencies as part of efforts to contain costs and to improve the efficiency of our services. This represents only 3 per cent of total numbers in our Public Service. It did not stop Mr Stanhope from telling everybody who bothered to listen that we were just like every other Liberal government, slashing the Public Service. He used all those sorts of hopelessly cliched statements, Mr Speaker. His colleague, the ever reliable Mr Berry, also weighed into the debate this week, telling the media that public servants were being offered redundancies because of my Government's financial mismanagement. That was an interesting comment from Mr Berry, and one that I will come back to a little later.
Mr Speaker, the practice of offering voluntary redundancies did not begin under this Government, surprise, surprise, even though Mr Berry and Mr Stanhope have tried to create the impression that they were somehow invented by this Government. I can tell the Assembly that the practice of offering them began barely two years after self-government started. Mr Kaine offered them when he was Chief Minister and, guess what, the Labor Party offered them when they were in government. And, boy, did the ALP offer them, Mr Speaker.
Over the three years between 1992 and 1995 a total of 1,019 redundancies were paid out by the Labor Government at a total cost of $37m. Let me repeat that in case Mr Stanhope was overseas or maybe asleep, as he was yesterday. Mr Speaker, between 1992 and 1995 Labor paid out a thousand redundancies. Some of us can remember that Mr Berry was a Minister in that Government and therefore was part of the budget Cabinet, part of all of that decision-making. But, wait a minute, Mr Speaker. Did not Mr Berry say earlier this week that the only reason that a government would offer voluntary redundancies was appalling financial management? Clearly, the financial