Page 1574 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 31 March 2009
and virtually half of the national unemployment rate. But any rise in unemployment is bad for the ACT community and for the economy.
In the areas in which we can influence employment—and we have a direct role in that, in that we have relationships in terms of our own public service and organisations that we fund—we are extremely mindful of the decisions we take in this year’s budget in ensuring that we do not make decisions that will impact on the unemployment rate. We also have been very strong in our representations to the commonwealth in terms of them putting their budget together, and ensuring that in the decisions they take they are mindful of the impact they have here in the ACT. We will wait and see what the commonwealth budget brings down, but we have certainly made those representations, and I think it was right to make those representations. We have very low unemployment here. It will remain low, but the projections are that it will increase. That is not good for anywhere in the country, and it is not good for here in the ACT.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?
MR COE: Yes, Mr Speaker. The Treasurer just said that the Treasury’s forecast for unemployment is different from that of Access Economics. Would the Treasurer please tell the chamber what Treasury’s forecast is and what impact that will have on the ACT budget?
MS GALLAGHER: I am just looking for the details in the midyear review, where we have published our latest economic indicators. I can’t find it right at the moment. I am just trying to recall the figure. I can’t recall it at the moment. I will get back to you. But there is certainly a view around a doubling of the 2.4 per cent.
Mr Coe: Get back to me today?
MS GALLAGHER: Yes. I will find it while I am sitting here.
ACT Public Service—recruitment
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, currently the ACT is in recession and the Chief Minister has warned of a doubling of the unemployment rate. Does the government intend to continue to recruit staff to the ACT public service from overseas? If so, what is the likely impact on unemployment in the ACT?
MS GALLAGHER: That is a strange merge of the questions of Alistair Coe and Vicki Dunne together. Recruitment to the ACT public service is based on merit, as everybody in this place would know. We are very mindful of our responsibilities in the level of employment that we sustain in this community in areas that we have direct control over in terms of our own public service and in those organisations that we fund and employ staff in.
In the context of the budget, we are looking at a whole range of issues, including decisions that we make and whether those impact or not in terms of employment. But we do ensure that employment to the ACT public service is based on merit. That is