Page 2170 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013
Whilst some sectors of the community will support bringing in paid parking in the parliamentary zone, there will, of course, be many people that will be far worse off as a result of this. All this is because we have a federal government that cannot manage the bills. We have a federal budget that is $191 billion collectively in deficit since the Labor Party came to office in 2007.
These are Labor values; this is a Labor budget. This is not an election budget; it is not a legacy budget. It is a Labor budget with a lot of misery. Some decisions have been made in the budget which the coalition, I am sure, will support. But the fact is, this is a missed opportunity because, had the economy been managed properly over the last six years, many more sweeteners would be on offer for all Australians, particularly here in the ACT. But the reality is that the government’s poor fiscal policy has led to a situation where some very tough decisions have to be made. Unfortunately, it is here in the ACT where we will be feeling it the hardest.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (3.50): I thank Mr Coe for bringing forward this MPI and for being here on time to do so. Mr Assistant Speaker, there is no doubt that the federal budget does impact the ACT. Canberra was founded to be the national capital and, as such, is the administrative heart of the country. Needless to say, given that the commonwealth budget contributes about 50 per cent of all economic activity in the territory—public consumption from the commonwealth government accounts for nearly $25 billion of a $50 billion state final demand figure—decisions taken in the federal budget each year certainly affect this city.
It is interesting that the MPI this afternoon is under the very broad topic of the impact of the federal budget, not any specific federal budget. Let us have a look at the history of federal budgets and how they impact upon the territory. It was a fascinating little trip down memory lane; before I was born, perhaps when the shadow treasurer was getting around in short pants. The Gang-gang column in today’s Canberra Times gave an example of the impact of the federal budget on the ACT. The column talked about the “clear local outrage” at the budget handed down in 1951 by the then Treasurer, Arthur Fadden, which was epitomised by a local who scrawled “R.I.P., 10,000 public servants” onto a tombstone located at the front of the Public Service Board. It would appear that cutting the public service is part of the Liberal Party DNA all the way back to the 1950s. Some things never change.
But unreconstructed Liberal policies aside, the commonwealth’s decisions on spending and employment are clearly pivotal to the ACT’s economic fortunes. In recent years we have seen the positive impact of the commonwealth, which has helped to fund important projects in the ACT and to increase its level of employment. It is interesting when you go back and have a look at the level of growth in commonwealth public sector employment in the ACT since this government was elected. I will put the figures on the public record again to remind those opposite.
The Australian Public Service Commission head count of public servants employed by the commonwealth in the ACT in June 2007 was 56,709. That increased to 58,971