Page 3755 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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Budget—public service savings

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. In your 2005-06 budget speech you said that general savings of $20.7 million would be made across all departments, rising to $28.4 million in a full year. You later foreshadowed that some 260 jobs would go from the ACT public service. What has been the progress in cost savings so far and, as at the end of September, what has been the reduction in staff numbers?

Mr Hargreaves: Not enough for you, Richard.

MR QUINLAN: Yes, it was a modest target really, wasn’t it? Off the top of my head I could not tell you exactly the numbers, but I do know from the various reports that we have received thus far that that process is going well. That is a question that probably should have been asked on notice, and I will take it on notice.

MR MULCAHY: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. What is the impact of the actual or anticipated reduction in staff numbers, in terms of morale and performance, in ACT government agencies and departments?

MR QUINLAN: In this regard I can only report on my own areas; I cannot report service wide. Certainly, we have a number of people who are working hard. There is a genuine commitment amongst those agencies to achieve their targets and their programs, and, in some part, doing that is a boost to morale. Yes, we are and do intend to apply a reasonable degree of efficiency—an efficiency requirement—to all of our agencies, and that has certainly been the case in my agencies. My agencies, I have to claim, are agencies that have not grown in any great part since we came to government. In fact, Treasury is probably operating with fewer staff now than when we came to government, so there is pressure. There is pressure on staff because of absentees, because of maternity leave and because of other things. But there is a damned good spirit there, and those people are very proud of what they do.

Gungahlin swimming pool

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Planning. I refer to a WIN news report on Tuesday, 4 October, where the government was quoted as saying, in regard to the construction of a pool in Gungahlin, that it is entirely up to the private sector to decide if a 50-metre pool is built. Minister, why are you allowing the private sector to determine whether the people of Gungahlin deserve a 50-metre pool?

MR CORBELL: I need to check the transcript of that report. I would not want to assume that Mr Seselja was quoting me accurately, if at all. What I can clarify is the government’s position. The government’s position is that we, through the planning process, have identified a site in Gungahlin large enough to accommodate an indoor water facility, with the capacity to include a 50-metre pool if that is what is decided is an appropriate level of development for the site by whomever purchases that site at some point in the future.

I note that Mr Seselja is saying we should put it in the lease and development conditions. We could do that, but the advice I have is that, if we did that, we wouldn’t sell the site.

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