Page 1771 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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Cuts like this do not just hurt employees or their family, or their friends and neighbours; they devastate entire communities, and Tuggeranong is no different. The possibility of these cuts is currently looming over the Brindabella community. It needs to end, and it needs to end now. The ACT government, as representative of these workers, must stand up for them, and I am proud that they are. Without Tony Abbott’s commitment to the statement of commitment to Canberra, this simply is not going to happen.

I believe this boils down to a lack of respect that the Liberal Party has for working families in Canberra and the lack of respect Zed and the Abbott Liberals have for the Tuggeranong community. It is no secret that Zed will be leaving this chamber in the next four months after promising Tuggeranong that he will look after them and fight for better local services. Though in saying that, we should not be surprised because he left the electorate of Molonglo for greener pastures beforehand.

Through my work I consult with the people of Tuggeranong every day—through through shopping centre stalls, phone calls and surveys to name a few. And it is clear to me the electorate feel abandoned by Mr Seselja as he continues to sit in this chamber collecting a salary and waiting for 14 September to come around so he can start his new job.

I am proud members of this government are the ones standing up for Canberra and ensuring its safe and prosperous future. I urge all members to support the motion.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (5.27): I am pleased to speak to this motion this evening. It is an important motion because it is about respect for the men and women of the Australian public service, the depth of their experience, the integrity of their advice and their proven neutrality during 100 years of government. And it is also about respect for Canberra, the national capital, home to 360,000 people, a marketplace for 25,000 businesses whose outlook is weakened whenever there are adverse comments made about our city and our city’s role into the future. We are already seeing weaker business sentiment as a result of some of the comments that have been made about future decisions that will be made if Mr Abbott is lucky enough to win the job of Prime Minister in September’s election.

If an incoming Abbott government proceeded with APS job cuts of up to 20,000, it is likely the impacts would be far worse than those that followed the Howard government’s cuts of 1996, where unemployment rose to 7.9 per cent and house values dropped by around $25,000. We do not believe an Abbott victory will be a mandate for the coalition to put a wrecking ball through the families and businesses of Canberra. I think Mr Abbot needs to be clear on his commitment to Canberra, his commitment to the public service and any plans he has to move agencies and departments out of the ACT.

The editorial in today’s Canberra Times suggests he should stop treating the public service like a pork barrel, bringing politics into decisions around the staffing and location of federal agencies rather than basing them on what serves the agency and

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