Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2276 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I do not know about you, but I am heartily sick of those opposite getting stuck into public servants. It is ongoing. Every single sitting in this place we have another go at public servants, and it simply is unacceptable. Have a look at the financial performance of the ACT over the last 4 1/2 years since we came to government, particularly over the last three years or so, Mr Speaker. We have implemented full accrual accounting, full outputs-based budgeting, and been ahead of the rest of Australia in financial reform. We are now down to a situation where our operating loss is under $10m and will go into the black next year. I think that says a lot about the performance of that area of government.
MR HIRD: Following on from our learned colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, who sometimes has his head in the sand - - -
Mr Stanhope: You keep following, Mr Hird.
MR HIRD: I know it is difficult to know which hand the marble is in, Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Stanhope: Is this an exhaustive question?
MR SPEAKER: Is this leading to a question?
MR HIRD: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister inform the parliament as to how many jobs have been created in Canberra since our government came to office?
Mr Stanhope: Full-time or part-time?
MR HIRD: Listen, sonny, you will learn something. How does the ACT job situation currently compare to the rest of Australia?
MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Hird, for the question. Mr Speaker, when this Government came to office in March 1995 the ACT's unemployment rate was 7.1 per cent. Today it is 5.7 per cent. This is the lowest that our unemployment rate has been since October 1990, nearly nine years ago. It may interest the Assembly to learn that the unemployment rate never fell as low as 5.7 per cent during the entire time that the Labor Party was in office between 1991 and 1995. Never once, Mr Speaker.
When this Government came to office nearly 4 1/2 years ago there were 11,800 unemployed Canberrans, according to the ABS. Today there are 9,700, a reduction of 18 per cent. This is the lowest number of unemployed since the middle of 1991. When this Government came to office in March 1995 there were 152,800 jobs in this city. Today there are 159,300 people in employment. That is an increase of 6,500 jobs, or more than 4 per cent. This is the highest number of jobs ever recorded in Canberra. Mr Speaker, I think it is important to say that again. This is the highest number of jobs ever recorded in this city.