Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2257 ..
I say "generally in line". They are certainly not in line with the most well-paid Commonwealth agencies such as Treasury, Prime Minister and Cabinet and so on, but it keeps them broadly in line with the mid-point for other Commonwealth agencies. That is appropriate, if we are going to retain well-trained, expert staff to deliver the services the community needs.
Interestingly, Mr Smyth made a comment about efficiencies. He asked, "Where was the push for efficiencies?"It is interesting to hear Mr Smyth push this because, when the government delivered efficiencies in its last budget, he criticised us for that. He is trying to have it both ways. He is trying to have a go at us when we do it-and not have a go at us when we do it. That is the sort of negative oppositionist approach we have come to expect from Mr Smyth.
The issue for the government is to make sure our public servants receive decent wage rises, so we can attract and retain good people in our public service, reward the service of everyone who is already in the ACT government service, and deliver real wage outcomes which improve their quality of life.
The Liberal Party effectively delivered increases that did not even keep up with CPI. Their increases did not even keep up with the cost of living. That was the consequence of the Liberal Party's approach to industrial relations, and that will be their approach again. If they are back in government, they will drive wages down. They will drive wages down to a degree that they will gut the ACT government service. They will gut the service capacity of the ACT government to deliver on policy development and on services for the ACT community.
Mr Deputy Speaker, that will be the consequence of a future Liberal government. We will see wages for ACT public servants go down-to the degree that we will be unable to attract or retain effective public servants in our service. That is what this bill addresses. It is an appropriate step forward and Mr Smyth should have the courtesy of acknowledging that, at the same time as he does us the courtesy of passing the legislation.
MR QUINLAN(Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (11.14), in reply: I will refer to Mr Stefaniak first and his reinvention of history-in fact, I would say the corruption of history. I want to introduce just one element to all of what Mr Stefaniak said.
The amount of Commonwealth funding this territory receives has doubled since 1998. If we talked about a deficit of $344 million, which was brought to the territory by the Carnell government in 1995-96, we are, just by Commonwealth funding, half a billion dollars better off. So there ain't no miracle there, I am afraid. Any claims that that was done by the sweat of the brow of the government of the time are utter and complete nonsense.
I was bemused by some of what Mr Smyth said. There is a certain lack of understanding. Mr Smyth had me with a couple of press releases in the frame for paying public servants before this bill went through. First of all, I advise this house