Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 551 ..
scope of going beyond cultural institutions is yet to be absolutely clarified from the work of the finance minister, Mr Tanner.
It appears that there will be cuts to the APS, although the extent is not known, and although this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, the impact on Canberra could be serious. It is important that, if cuts are to happen, we are ready for them and that the ACT government works cooperatively with the commonwealth to be prepared to absorb these workers into the local economy.
Without knowing all of the detail, it is impossible to say what can be cut from the APS, but I do not believe that we should be simply opposing any efficiencies just for the sake of it. I believe that Canberra’s employment market is still remarkably strong and that the construction and property markets will continue to be very strong for the foreseeable future, certainly for the next probably two years at least. Although it is true that the ACT is susceptible to changes at the federal level, I believe that the ACT is in a strong position to react to any cuts to the APS.
It is, as I said, disappointing that the Rudd government has targeted national institutions. I do not believe that these cuts are entirely justified by economic necessity and they do warrant some criticism from this Assembly. I also believe that it is not unreasonable to expect the ACT government to be a little more vocal in defence of Canberra. Certainly the Chief Minister and the rest of the government never hesitated in criticising our government. (Time expired.)
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.58): I am happy to support Mr Seselja’s motion and to speak against Mr Stanhope’s predictable but quisling and toadying amendment.
Mr Barr: Where’s Zed?
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! You can go and find him if you like, Mr Barr, but let us have a bit of order.
MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. We intended today to draw attention to the cuts made by the Rudd government and the impacts they will have, principally on our national institutions but also on the workforce in the ACT. It is important to reinforce the statement that the Chief Minister made at the ACT budget breakfast in 2007. He said then:
We are susceptible as a small jurisdiction in that we don’t have our destiny entirely in our hands. Decisions that the Federal Government might make, particularly if there’s a change of Government, could have significant impacts on employment levels or construction activity and our budget would suffer immediately.
As a consequence of the election of the Rudd Labor government, we have seen the signalling of significant cuts in the territory. We have seen cuts to national institutions. Mr Mulcahy is right: we do not know the full extent of that, but we do know that in excess of 30 people will go from the National Capital Authority, and not from areas where there is so-called duplication in planning matters. We know there will be more cuts to the National Capital Authority when they get around to their planning