Page 1024 - Week 03 - Thursday, 23 March 2017

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That is from a media article, “Labor’s public service job cuts could hamper coalition’s plan”, by Noel Towell on 19 November 2013. That is the fact. They are the facts on this.

I do not like those job cuts. I do not care who is doing it, whether it is Kevin Rudd with his meat axe—he said he was going to take a meat axe to the federal public service, and then the federal Labor Party was cutting jobs—or someone else. It continued under the coalition. I do not want to see any job cuts. But if we are going to have this debate, if you want to play the blame game, as has been happening, it is not helpful to try to blame the feds while the ACT Labor government has done nothing for the past 15 years to support the Woden town centre. That is the grim reality.

When opportunities have arisen to have a better tax regime and get rid of the lease variation charge in the town centres, the Labor Party has ignored them. When there is an opportunity to relocate public servants, a significant number of public servants, from the ACT public service into Woden or other town centres, what have we done? We are building a brand-new $400 million building in the car park here. While we have got vacant buildings in Woden, while we know that we need to revitalise Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and other town centres, what is this government doing? It is building a big, new, shiny building right opposite the ACT Assembly to put everybody in. It is exactly the wrong thing to do.

They are putting jobs into Woden now, after having cut a whole bunch of other jobs. What happened to the CIT? It was relocated, moved out of that area. We are also going to see significant numbers of people move from the Canberra Hospital, previously called the Woden hospital, as we talked about, to Belconnen, under the north-side hospital plan. There are a lot of job movements going on, but the net effect is insignificant. We had an opportunity here to make sure that the ACT public service was dispersed across this town. Instead, the ACT government made the decision to put all its eggs in one basket in a new building.

There is a lot that needs to be done in the Woden town centre, in Phillip. I invite members to go down and have a look. Mrs Jones, Andrew Wall, the shadow minister for business, and I have done a lot of work to try to revitalise that area. Very little, if anything, has been done. The only initiative that the Labor government came up with essentially was to put in paid parking in Phillip. That is the only thing that they have come up with in recent history to help out that area.

It is good that we are having a conversation, but I am disappointed that, as Ms Cody says, this is the start of the conversation. This should have been an ongoing conversation. This should have been the end of the conversation that would have kept Woden town centre and its surrounds to the standard that we all once appreciated. It has been left to rot over the past 16 years of this ACT Labor government.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (4.43): I thank Ms Cheyne for submitting this matter of public importance on renewal in the Woden town centre. There is a growing optimism about Woden town centre’s future. Despite negativity from some quarters, including those opposite, Woden has a positive future. The ACT government is committed to

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