Page 1211 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

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The most significant sign of the strength of an economy is the level of unemployment, and unemployment is at 2.3 per cent, against a national average of about four per cent. It is the number one indicator of how well your economy is going—how many people are employed and how many are unemployed. We have the highest participation rate of 73 per cent; we have the lowest unemployment rate. The two most significant signs of how strong and how well your economy is performing are the number of people working. Because of the supply side constraint, the number of people in employment, the low level of unemployment and the overall skill shortage and labour force shortage issues we face, there are vacancies within the ACT public service and we intend and would like to fill them. We are struggling to fill them. Mr Barr makes the comment now that I think there were somewhere in the order of 30 vacancies in ACTPLA. We have simply been unable to attract people to the organisation—until, of course, regrettably, cuts were made to the NCA and staff have moved from the NCA to ACTPLA.

We the ACT government have taken advantage of decisions the commonwealth have taken and we have invited and welcomed into ACTPLA staff from the NCA. We have significant vacancies across the board in the ACT public service and the private sector. Just speak to Chris Peters, although I know that business do not speak to the Liberal Party much any more in town; but they speak to us. Chris Peters believes that there are over 1,000 jobs that could be filled immediately if only there were people to take the jobs. I look forward to my next discussion with—I am not sure what title Jim Murphy actually ascribes to himself these days—

Mr Hargreaves: Treasurer at large.

MR STANHOPE: the treasurer at large of the non-250 Club business club. The group that used to support the Liberal Party are now so dismayed at the appalling performance of the Liberal Party—its total lack of understanding of the needs of business and of budgeting—that they now propose to fund and support any candidate who is not a Liberal candidate. Of course, the Labor Party, as the only party that genuinely supports business in Canberra, actually looks forward to receiving the largesse of the new Canberra business club.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, why, given your admission that you cut the size of the public service in order to build it up, are you now taking these actions? Are you taking these actions so that you foot the bill for Kevin Rudd’s cuts to the commonwealth? Are you doing this rather than standing up to Kevin Rudd and his cuts to the commonwealth?

MR STANHOPE: No. Kevin Rudd does not need my help and I do not need his.

Mr Hargreaves: But maybe Zed does though.

MR STANHOPE: What is it?—I need your help. Poor old Mr Seselja glances around as he sits there amongst the talent and the brains trust. You can just imagine the little

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