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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2381 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Smyth boasts about what the Liberals will spend in education, or have spent in education. Well, everybody understands that Labor will spend more. What we save out of the free school bus system, we will put into schools. We will not put it into the 25 per cent who are going to be advantaged by this: we will spread it across the school community.

Amendments negatived.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 14-ACT Forests, $1,290,000 (capital injection), totalling $1,290,000.

MR BERRY (6.23): I merely make the point, Mr Speaker, that, as we pass this budget this evening, 20 workers have been screwed as a result of this government's fixation with contracting services to external agencies. They are people who gave long service to this community, not only in the forests and in the harvesting of our forest products, but also maintaining our life safety measures, such as fire protection and so forth, right throughout the ACT. They were ditched by this government, who have a new catch cry-social capital. But these people do not form part of that.

The interesting thing is that we will hear those opposite climb to their feet again and say, "What a wonderful job we have done." However, 20 people have been ditched, and the Totalcare workers will join them, as have the thousands of other workers upon whose removal this government has built its success. In other words, the government has built its successes on the pain and suffering of others.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (6.25): I might just actually reiterate the concerns expressed by Mr Berry in relation to some of those job cuts. I read the Auditor-General's report tabled yesterday in relation to, effectively, the public service and how to improve it, and the extent to which the public service has not been delivering the service that a professional and diligent public service does. To some extent, one wonders at the stress and the strain that the public service has endured as a result of the job cuts that are being meted out.

Some of the findings of the Auditor-General in relation to the capacity of the public service to provide, for instance, financial and economic forecasts and analyses of the order that a government has the right to expect, are a direct response, I am sure, to the continual shearing away of jobs within the public sector as a result of an ideological push. The same applies to forestry, as just this year we saw another group of workers being put on that particular train to insecurity and job loss, and everything that comes with that.

There is one other point I would like to make in relation to ACT Forests. I did raise this with the Minister for Health. I am advised that ACT Forests continues to impose a charge to use the toilets in Stromlo Forest on the Women's Jogalong, a significant community event here in Canberra. This might seem a trivial and minor matter, but this is an opportunity to make it clear that, in the context of this particular budget allocation, some of this funding is based on a toilet charge.

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