Page 2171 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013

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in June 2008, following the first budget of the Rudd government. By June 2011 it had increased to 64,759. In December 2012, the most recent data published by the commonwealth, there were 66,326 commonwealth public servants employed in the ACT—66,326 out of a total workforce of 209,400, which of course is an all-time record for employment in the ACT.

The commonwealth not only funds important projects in Canberra but also provides a significant level of employment, roughly a third of all employment in the city. Along with the funding committed by the federal government via the National Capital Authority, through its capital works commitments, and funding provided for specific national capital programs such as the Portrait Gallery, Anzac Parade and extensions to the Australian War Memorial, the federal government has in recent times also funded and contributed to a number of works programs delivered by the territory government through our own capital program.

That partnership has provided—just to give a few examples—funding for the Majura parkway, work which is progressing—$144 million, the Constitution Avenue upgrade, the National Arboretum and Canberra’s centenary celebrations. We are very pleased that the commonwealth made a contribution to the lights at Manuka Oval and the duplication of the Monaro Highway. The commonwealth provided funding for trade training centres in the ACT, the integrated cancer care centre, the Kings Highway upgrade, the black spot program and, of course, the upgrade of roads around the airport.

Under the nation building and jobs plan, since the 2008-09 fiscal year the ACT has been allocated approximately $250 million worth of funding from the commonwealth budget for education, housing, transport and roads. The ACT government welcomes these funding commitments made in the federal budget to the ACT.

In the most recent budget that was handed down on Tuesday evening, we have again seen further contributions to the territory from the commonwealth. These include funding for DisabilityCare, extra funding for Geoscience Australia, the CSIRO, the ACCC—the Australian Taxation Office—and funding for a number of national partnerships. I am particularly pleased that Minister Rattenbury was able to sign off, on behalf of the territory government, on a continuation of the national partnership on homelessness funding—a very important measure—a 12-month agreement at this point whilst a longer term agreement is negotiated. We have also received in this budget funding for the Canberra Hospital.

Of course, the impact of the federal budget can be both positive and negative on the territory. Whilst we certainly have enjoyed the fruits of the commonwealth expansion of jobs and spending in the territory over the last six years—10,000 additional positions in the territory—we are, of course, impacted when the commonwealth contracts. This usually occurs in a countercyclical way. The commonwealth steps up its involvement in the national economy during periods of economic difficulty and the ACT economy tends to be somewhat countercyclical to the national economy as a result, given the relative strength of the commonwealth within the territory economy.

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