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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3453 ..

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Assembly met at 10 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Commonwealth public service

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.03): I move:

That this Assembly note the importance of a strong and stable Commonwealth Public Service to the ACT.

We heard a great deal in this place yesterday about the potential damage that would be wrought to our local economy and to our local community should the Liberals win this weekend’s federal election. We talked about the impact on those whose jobs would vanish and the flow-on effect to other jobs in our economy. Mr Hanson glibly scoffed that because the job losses would be achieved by attrition, they were somehow not real jobs. Well, we all know that this is just spin. These losses will be real.

Ignoring the direct effect it will have on people’s lives is perilous. We simply cannot remove 12,000 jobs from an economy of our size and expect that it will be business as usual for everyone else. It will not. Economic modelling conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions estimates that the removal of 12,000 commonwealth public service jobs will result in the loss of another 17,400 jobs across the broader economy. As residents of the ACT, it is likely that all of us will know one or more of those people that will lose their jobs. I know how this will affect their families. These situations are real. These job cuts will be real and they will have real effects on people.

Perhaps Mr Hanson thinks that because they are just collateral damage from his party’s slash and burn of the public service they are not real jobs. Data from the ABS shows that the wages and salaries of commonwealth public servants were worth $5.7 billion to the ACT economy in 2008-09. Are the dollars attached to the 12,000 people in those jobs somehow imaginary dollars simply because the jobs will be lost by attrition rather than by redundancy? Are the dollars that those public servants spend in our supermarkets, our grocery stores, our restaurants and our car yards somehow imaginary dollars?

The fact is that the Liberal Party has promised—not threatened, but promised—to slash $24 billion over four years to 2013-14 from the current outlays of the commonwealth. Here in the ACT, commonwealth government expenditure is a critical contributor to our economic growth, representing almost half the territory’s total economy. Over the past two years the global financial crisis has posed a significant risk to the economy, but we have come through.

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