Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 118 ..
who work in the shops. It is quite a difficult situation and it shows how important employment centres are for the viability of commercial centres.
This is why I have been advocating, along with Senator Seselja, for a very long time on this issue. I know Senator Seselja has met with the previous minister, Mr Morrison, and with the secretary of the department, Mr Michael Pezzullo, on this subject and Senator Seselja and I have discussed these meetings. I know Senator Seselja has planned to meet Minister Dutton; I have not checked with him to see whether he has had that meeting. I am in the process of arranging a meeting with Minister Dutton or his office in early March on this very important subject.
I am glad the Labor Party has caught up and is starting to take an interest in this issue, but I think there are some issues we need to think about. The tone and tenor of Dr Bourke’s motion shows how the Labor Party works: Mr Dutton is an unworthy person and casting aspersions upon his performance as a minister; Mr Morrison is an unworthy person and casting aspersions upon his performance as a minister. He was the one who stopped the boats. He was the one who stopped people drowning at sea, but he is an unworthy minister. The Labor Party should look at the issue and take the politics out of it, but the Labor Party cannot take the politics out of this.
The Labor Party cannot stand up for small businesses. It did not stand up for small businesses in Tuggeranong when FaHCSIA was looking at moving out of Tuggeranong. Where were the Labor members for Brindabella in 2013 when the Rudd-Gillard government was proposing to move FaHCSIA out of Tuggeranong? They were silent. As always, when there were job cuts under the Rudd-Gillard government, the Labor members were silent. They did nothing because they did not have the moral fibre or the backbone to stand up for this place against their Labor mates.
I want to contrast that with the work that is being done by Senator Seselja in succeeding in getting funding for new buildings in Tuggeranong and to keep the department of social security in Tuggeranong. Senator Seselja had the moral fibre and the guts to stand up to cuts and say this was not good enough for Tuggeranong. As a member for Ginninderra, as a Belconnen resident of over 30 years, I am prepared to stand up and say to this government that they need to be very careful of the unintended consequences. It might be easy for Immigration to move to a new spot somewhere else. If they move, I am not concerned about where they move to—I would really like them to stay in Belconnen because Belconnen industries and businesses are there mainly as a result of the amount of employment already there in Belconnen.
Taking thousands of public servants and relocating them to somewhere else in Canberra will have a detrimental impact on not just the Belconnen town centre but the group centres around it. It will have a detrimental impact on schools and all the things Dr Bourke talked about, including increased travel time. It is the case that many people who work in Immigration live in the Belconnen region, but not all of them. It is not the case that people live where they work, and it has never been the case. I lived in Belconnen for most of the time I was a federal public servant and I worked in Woden and I worked in Civic. My husband was a federal public servant for over 30 years and he worked in Civic, he worked in Belconnen and he worked in Woden.