Page 1773 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013
about. And if they cannot be met through natural attrition—because it is a very large number to be met by natural attrition—how else will they seek to find the efficiencies they so proudly talk of if and when they are elected to government.
As I said at the beginning of my comments, this motion is about respect. It is showing respect to the people who will enable him to govern if he is elected. The public service is a rich pool of expertise in the processes of government, and Canberra is seen as the centre of public administration excellence around the world.
The OECD makes the point that community confidence in government institutions and public administrations is one of the keys to a cohesive society. According to the OECD, 71 per cent of Australians trust their political institutions. This is well above the OECD average of 56 per cent and thanks largely to the stability and integrity provided by the public service.
The OECD has also made the point that the size of general government employment in Australia is much lower than in most comparable countries. Our public servants are committed to what they do, they are good at it, they are very adaptable, and they have been required to change and find efficiencies, as all of us have.
As a city, Canberra has grown strongly under the ACT government and our economic diversification agenda, driving the growth in higher education, ICT and other knowledge-intensive industries. However, the commonwealth still employs around 36 per cent of the Canberra workforce and indirectly supports many workers in the private sector, be it through consultancy, hospitality or retail.
The Canberra business community, certainly from all my meetings with them, is deeply concerned about the plans should an Abbott Liberal government be elected in September. They also are feeling the uncertainty caused by comments seemingly made off the cuff and what they mean to our long-term future.
Canberra is a progressive and caring community, and we are a progressive and caring government. We have great respect for the thousands of professionals who enable the federal government to function and who make up our community. I think it is appropriate that, in our centenary year, we are able as an Assembly to stand together, united, and ask for more information about what Mr Abbott’s plans are for Canberra and also to seek to engage a level of respect in the discussion as it ramps up towards September and some confidence that Mr Abbott considers that the national capital, Canberra, should be the seat and natural home of the Australian public service and that he shows some commitment to the 360,000 people who live and work in our city.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (5.36): I am pleased to join with my colleagues this evening to speak on this very important motion about the future of our city, the future of jobs, the future of economic security for so many Canberrans. Of course, we understand that this is a time of great anxiety for people in our city. We hear the claims being made again and again with much pride and enthusiasm by the Canberra Liberals’ federal counterparts, who boast about how they are going to get