Page 5314 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary?

MR SMYTH: Yes. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, in cash terms, payment for employees increased by $43 million from the 2008-09 budget estimate to the 2008-09 actual. How much of the increase is attributable to increased staffing numbers and how much is attributable to wage increases?

MS GALLAGHER: I will take that on notice.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: Treasurer, what average staff level did the government budget for in 2008-09, and what was the actual average staffing level for the government in 2008-09?

MS GALLAGHER: I think the figures that we budgeted for in terms of staffing numbers are contained in the budget papers. This is something that the government keeps a very close eye on in terms of staffing growth. Some of the decisions we took in 2006 about ensuring that our budget is sustainable were around containing our staffing costs. However, members will note from many of the budget initiatives that have been put in place, particularly in health and in education, that there have been increases in the ACT public service. This has been known to the government. They have been decisions that we have gone into with our eyes open, and it is something that the government keeps a very close eye on in terms of any unexpected growth in staffing numbers. This is something on which reports are provided to cabinet, because we realise that, in terms of controlling our budget, controlling our staffing costs is key to that.

I would say that we are increasing our staffing numbers where we need to in relation to delivering high quality services to the people of the ACT. But we make sure that there is not any unanticipated employee growth that is not factored into the budget initiatives that the government supports through open decision making in the cabinet process.


MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the minister for housing and concerns tenants’ income assessments for rent and rental rebate calculations. How is income calculated for self-employed people such as artists, consultants and micro-business owners for the purposes of eligibility for public housing?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. Housing ACT has over 23,000 tenants in 11,000 properties and there are rebates and systems for assessment. But the details around how artists and independent business—

Ms Le Couteur: Self-employed in general.

MS BURCH: I will take that on notice and bring it back to you.

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