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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 130 ..

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality) (11.06): I thank Dr Bourke for bringing the motion to the Assembly. It is clear that we are all—more particularly Mrs Dunne, Mr Coe and the rest of us from Ginninderra and Belconnen—passionate in our defence of our local area. I feel that I need to defend myself in relation to some of the comments that Mrs Dunne made about whether or not the Labor Party in this place had ever spoken out against the federal Labor government. I can certainly say that I have on the current government’s stance on refugees and on federal Labor’s decision to remove support for sole parents. I will continue to speak out against federal governments who make decisions that affect and hurt the people that I represent.

I think it is right not to go into who said what first because we are clearly in agreement about our defence of Belconnen, but I have to say that Labor absolutely did move on this. I know that the Chief Minister has written a letter. Dr Bourke and I made comments in the Canberra Times, and I know that Senator Seselja and the member for Fraser, Dr Leigh, did. In fact, last week I received in my letterbox a postcard which I will table for the Assembly’s information. I table the following paper:

Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Border Protection—Relocation from Belconnen—Stand up for local jobs—A community petition by Andrew Leigh MP.

In the interest of our passionate defence of everything Belconnen, I encourage members opposite to get a copy of the postcard themselves and sign it or go online and sign the pamphlet. It calls on the federal government to ensure that the department of immigration stays in Belconnen.

I want to make a few other comments about Belconnen and the effect that the removal of the immigration department in Belconnen will have on the people that work in that area. Whilst I understand that many people in Canberra will be able to travel across this city to work—those people on higher incomes—it is those workers who are on lower incomes who try to gain employment as close to their homes as they can. When you are earning $20, or less than $20, an hour and have to travel across Canberra to do a three or four-hour job, it is just not worth the travel. Moving this particular department will affect those in the low paid sectors, those employed in hospitality and those who are service providers, like many students, migrants and other casual workers who have very little job security and little savings to fall back on. It is those people we also need to keep in mind when we are thinking about moving a big department like Immigration out of a town centre such as Belconnen.

It was reported in the Canberra Times last month that these workers make up 60 per cent of a cafe’s customers in Belconnen. As I said before, I know that the Chief Minister has made representations and we now know that Mrs Dunne has also made representations. But Dr Bourke’s motion gives the Assembly a chance to approach the commonwealth as a united voice, and that is where we want to be. We know that the

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