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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 67 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

invests in its people and their development. A service that is collaborative in its approach, that works in partnership with the government, the parliament and the community. A service that is an attractive and rewarding place to work. A service of which we can truly be proud.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I present the following paper:

The future direction of the ACT Public Service-Ministerial statement, 13 February 2001.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR BERRY (4:10): Mr Humphries wove into the speech he has just made-I am reading from the printed speech and I think he used the same words-a range of adjectives in relation to the public service. I think he used the adjectives professional, honest, hardworking, collaborative, dedicated and dependable. But he forgot to add another adjective arising from an ACT workforce statistical report that was tabled in this place today. He should have said "shrinking" because it is very clear from that statistical report that there are fewer and fewer public servants to do the job here in the ACT, which is consistent with this government's approach from the word go. I think it was the former Chief Minister who said that it was not the role of government to provide services. Indeed, Mr Deputy Speaker, over the years the ACT public service has been slashed and in fact this is what happened during the recession which hit the ACT when the Howard Liberals slashed their own public service.

My recollection is that this new era for the ACT public service is the second new era for the ACT public service during the reign of the Liberals. The former Chief Minister introduced a new era and that led us through all sorts of tragic circumstances, both financially and in human terms. We all have etched into our minds the disastrous Canberra Hospital implosion and we were told that that was not the fault of the government of the day.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the same approach is being taken by this new Liberal government in relation to the more recent economic circumstances which the government has had to deal with, namely the Bruce Stadium. Every time something goes wrong it appears that we are going to get a new era for our public service. In my view that simply boils down to public service bashing and blaming the public servants for the implementation of the government's wishes of the day.

I look forward to a strong and independent public service which advises the government of the day fearlessly and without favour. It is not the pieces of paper that we see here today but the ideology of the government which establishes a strong and independent public service. That has been the problem all through the period of the Liberal government since they first came to office-a period of six years which is culminating in another new era during an election year. In my estimation, the only time that the ACT public service will enter a new era is when the government changes because if the ideology is the same the outcomes are not going to be much different, and that has been the record all the way along.

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