Page 1764 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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the federal government grows, Canberra benefits. If it contracts, Canberra suffers. For once, I wholeheartedly endorse Mr Humphries’ sentiments and I strongly encourage those opposite to do the same.

Canberra is the nation’s capital. It is the seat of federal government and the home of the Australian public service. We do not need the slash and burn approach of an Abbott-led government. We do not need Canberrans being out of work. We do not need the considerable stress that will be placed on families. We do not need Canberra businesses ruined and we do not need the housing market destabilised.

It is important to remember that the territory’s strong economic performance has not just happened by luck. On the contrary, it has come about as a result of the hard work by this Labor government and its partnerships with Canberra community employees and businesses. We need certainty and stability for governments and for the community to work together to ensure continued growth in our economy. We need to provide opportunity for our children to stay in the region and raise their families. A federal coalition government, I fear, will see an exodus of our young people in large numbers. Mr Assistant Speaker, this Assembly should give its unequivocal support to the motion before it today.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (5.02): I rise in support of Dr Bourke’s motion and I thank him for raising such an important matter with us in the Assembly today. Commonwealth public servants are hardworking people whom we depend on to ensure that our country keeps running. I cannot list the things that public servants do for Australia because to do so would cover every facet of our society. There is almost nothing that can happen in this country without the support, input and work of a public servant.

It is obvious to say that Canberra exists for the public service but I think it is important also to recognise the fact that it is the presence of public servants in our city that makes Canberra the smart, vibrant, cosmopolitan city that it is. In the blue collar areas where I live and which I represent, west Belconnen, residents tell me how much of their work is reliant on the public service and how concerned they are about the hurt that will come to Canberra should the Liberals cut between 12,000 and 20,000 jobs from the public service.

That figure is a bit rubbery because if Tony Abbott does get in to govern Australia, it could be far worse. Who knows, it could be up to 50,000 jobs should Tony Abbott follow the lead of his colleague in the Queensland parliament. Can the Liberals here promise that their mates on the hill will not do that? Can they promise that they will not cut thousands and thousands of jobs from the heart of this country, from our nation’s capital?

They are talking about making promises and breaking promises. Let us hear a promise from our colleagues on the other side of the Assembly today that they will contact their mate on the hill and say, “Protect Canberra’s jobs.” I do not think we are going to hear that promise. I do not think we will hear that promise from these people today.

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