Page 3254 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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pressure on his time during the early days of his prime ministership. I note that Senator Abetz was yesterday named as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service, so I anticipate Senator Abetz will also be important in the discussions that we are to have.

We will be seeking that the announced job reductions are only achieved through natural attrition, as has been promised, and that they will not be unfairly concentrated in Canberra. We will also argue against the redeployment of jobs out of Canberra. It was a decision of the previous federal government, and one we did not support, about the relocation of NDIS to Geelong. We still do not believe that is the right outcome for that agency. Indeed, it is not in the interests of our local community. I think it has the potential to not deliver the policy outcomes that have been sought through DisabilityCare. There is also the announcement of a proposed agency of 300 to go to the Central Coast.

We will continue to lobby against funding cuts to NICTA and we will urge caution in the scope and the response to the commission of audit that will be commissioned. Again, we have seen in Queensland how the commission of audit recommends often deeper and more significant cuts than would have been announced in the federal election campaign.

I think at this time Canberra’s public servants need strong representation. The new government needs to be fully aware of the impacts its policies are likely to have, not just on Canberra but the region. We are better placed to cope with some of the changes that have been talked about than we were a decade ago, but the APS still remains Canberra’s single biggest employer. Drastic changes in staffing levels will impact on our economy. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, does the change of federal government affect the ACT government’s long-term plans for our economy?

MS GALLAGHER: It is difficult without any detail around some of the changes that will come in and affect Canberra with the change of federal government. At this point in time the government remains committed to the plans that we have outlined for our local economy. In fact, it makes those plans even more important. It gives a great impetus to the ACT government’s agenda to broaden the economic base, build resilience in the economy, and we have already shown that we will continue to work on this.

Tax reform will continue. Red tape reduction will continue. Support for the housing sector will continue. Capital metro and other major infrastructure projects will continue. Support for the business sector and diversifying the economy, as outlined in an extensive address to the Assembly this morning by the Deputy Chief Minister—all of that becomes even more important now.

I think the Canberra community expect us to lead from the front. They want us to protect the things they love about Canberra, and we will do that. Hopefully, we will do it in partnership with other members in this place.

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