Page 1777 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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They also want to establish a new national industry committee, a new national advisory committee to the ministerial council. But, guess what? That new committee will have eight employer representatives and one employee representative—that is a fair and balanced national training system, if ever I have seen one! So we have three votes to the commonwealth and then they stack the advisory committee with all their mates—eight employer votes and one employee vote. I have never seen such an out of balance agreement on the table for states and territories to sign up for. The agreement being sought by the commonwealth does not offer one cent of new money, not one new training place around the country. That is what they are seeking to achieve with this agreement—not one new training place on offer for any Australian seeking a training opportunity.

We will continue to push the Australian government to acknowledge that they are contributing to a significant funding shortfall in VET, not just around the country but here in the ACT. Our commitment is clearly demonstrated—$14.1 million over the next three years in additional funds to training. We will continue to push for a better deal. Those opposite should do the same in the interests of young Canberrans and those workers seeking to upskill or change their employment and I expect that we will have the support of the opposition as we continue to dialogue with the commonwealth. If they do not support us, they are not working in the interests of people in the ACT, and particularly young Canberrans who need the support of both governments to have opportunities for career advancement and appropriate training. If they do not get behind us, they are being negligent to their community. That is why we will continue to argue with the commonwealth to up their offer and meet their responsibilities.

Budget—public service cuts

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Planning. The budget delivered yesterday highlights expected savings in the ACT Planning and Land Authority of $1.4 million. The cash flow statements on page 216 of budget paper 4 show that employee expenses will drop from $24.056 million to $23.5 million, despite increases in public sector wages. Given this cut, how many jobs will be lost from ACTPLA in 2005-06?

MR CORBELL: Somewhere between nine and 11.

MR SESELJA: What further delays in the approval process can be expected now that you are slashing staff in ACTPLA?

MR CORBELL: You can hardly say it is slashing. ACTPLA has over 250 staff. For between nine and 11 staff, either their contracts will not be renewed or they will be offered a redundancy. ACTPLA will be rearranging their administrative arrangements to better reflect the budget position they have to address. As with all government agencies, the government is focusing—and ACTPLA is therefore focusing—on delivering efficiencies that the government expects to manage the overall budget position.

I can assure members, however, that we do not believe it will have any impact on DA assessment or processing times. A number of the positions are contract positions that will not be renewed; others will be achieved through a level of natural attrition.

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