Page 1839 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 May 2013

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has been painted by the Leader of the Opposition of a poorly performing economy, the ACT has just set, according to the ABS, a new record for the highest number of people in employment in the territory’s history.

I do note, when looking at employment growth in the ACT in the last 12 months, that it has been 1.8 per cent. The national average is 1.2 per cent. The only jurisdictions to record a higher level of employment growth than the ACT in the last 12 months are the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which is entirely consistent with what I said yesterday in relation to the ACT having the third strongest performing economy in the nation.

In relation to commonwealth public sector employment within the ACT, the former Leader of the Opposition made some allegations yesterday to the effect that employment in the commonwealth sector in the ACT had been declining. I thought I would go and have a look at the detail of this. I can advise the Assembly that the data that is available on the Australian Public Service Commission website shows that in June 2008 there were 58,971 public servants employed in the ACT. That increased to 64,759 in June 2011, and in the figures that were published just two days ago, it increased further to 66,326.

This compares with the level of employment in the ACT in 2007, when the Howard government was turfed out of office and employment in the public sector in the ACT was 56,709. So there would appear to have been just short of 10,000 additional positions in the commonwealth public service in the ACT in the last six years since the election of the Labor government.

When we go back to the period after the Howard government put the axe through public sector employment in the ACT and sent the ACT into recession, public sector employment levels back in 1998 were only 41,992. So we have gone up 25,000 public sector jobs from 1998 to 2012. Under John Howard in 1998, there were 41,992 jobs in the ACT; there are now, according to the latest figures from the Public Service Commission, 66,326. That represents a significant contribution to the total level of employment in the territory, which, as I say, according to the ABS, at 209,400 is an all-time record level of employment in the ACT.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Treasurer, what is your message to the approximately 10,000 Canberrans who are unemployed?

MR BARR: My message is that this government will work to diversify this economy, we will always support jobs growth in this economy, and we will continue to see employment growth in the ACT in the future under the policies of this local government. My great fear for those 10,000 people is that they will soon be joined by 10,000 more sacked by Tony Abbott.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Treasurer, will you now write to the current Prime Minister and ask for a commitment to stop job losses here in Canberra?

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