Page 492 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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recent times. So both sectors have grown. There are now more people in employment in the territory than ever before, so we continue to see employment growth, which is encouraging.

What certainly has been the case is that jobs that were outsourced from the public sector to the private sector under the Howard government have been brought back into the public sector, partially by the Howard government towards the end of their term and also under the Rudd and Gillard governments. What has led to significant growth in employment in the territory—and Mr Smyth would know this and I imagine would support it—is that there has been a significant increase in employment in the defence and security industries, for example, and that has largely been in the public sector.

So the key point here is that there has been growth in both private employment and public employment. The reason the ratio has changed is that public sector employment has been greater, and that has predominantly been driven in the commonwealth public sector although, of course, the ACT government is now employing more people in health and in education and in emergency services and in community services and in disability services. So we have, of course, increased employment in the territory. That has been important to provide high quality services to the people of Canberra.

If Mr Smyth objects to that increase in employment, he should say so. But he should also acknowledge that there has been growth in private sector employment, and I would think that as the shadow treasurer he should welcome that. I would hope he would and that, aside from making a cheap political point today, he would support employment growth.

Health—birthing centre

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Health and it is about staff recruitment. The Health Directorate has attributed the low occupancy rate of the birth centre at the Centenary hospital to a difficulty in recruiting and retaining midwives. Minister, when planning was conducted to build the Centenary hospital, what work was conducted to ensure that we would have adequate staff to maintain this facility?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Wall for the question. A lot of work goes into workforce planning right across the health system. There is a detailed workforce plan and data collected across all areas. The issue in the birth centre is that it is a particular type of midwife who works in those arrangements. It is not always attractive to all midwives. There is an international shortage of midwives. There is a national shortage of midwives. There are local pressures for midwives.

Midwives in the hospital often work in the hospital because they have certainty around their shifts. For the community midwives program, which is the program that makes you eligible for the birth centre or use of the birth centre, those midwives are on call 24/7 with their clients, and that does not suit all midwives. So we often have pressure in recruiting midwives to that program because of the nature of the work. Particularly for midwives with young children and families, it is a very difficult job to do.

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