Page 1225 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017

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MR BARR: If we go back to the Howard government—we could go back further, but we will go back 20 years, to the Howard government—when they sacked around 3,300 public service staff in 1996-97, there was a significant fall in house prices, our economy went into recession, confidence was shattered across the city and many small businesses directly felt the hit as Canberrans pulled back on their spending.

Fast-forward to the election of the Abbott government and the cut of 6,000 jobs across Canberra in 2014-15.

Mr Doszpot: What about the Rudd government?

MR BARR: Public sector employment in this city grew by 10,000 under the Rudd and Gillard governments. It was cut back by 6,000 under Tony Abbott. They are the facts. All one needs to do is go and look at the APS Statistical Bulletin to see how much public sector employment grew under the Rudd and Gillard governments and how much it was cut, initially under Howard and then under the Abbott government.

The ACT government, during this period, stepped up to stimulate the territory economy. Although our growth rate reduced significantly during this 2014-15 period, we kept the territory economy out of recession, and since that time growth in the territory has tripled.

Planning—waste facility

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management in relation to the FOY Group’s proposal to develop a plastic to fuel processing facility, about which the Greens have had long-standing concerns. Minister, in recent days an additional 39 documents were provided by the FOY Group and published on the EPSDD website. I note that you have in the past, I think, 20 minutes put out a media release extending consultation to allow community members to respond to this additional information. Will the government alert all community members and, in particular, people who have made submissions about this additional information, to the extended time frame?

MR GENTLEMAN: Thanks very much to Ms Le Couteur for the question. It is an important question as we deal with this proposal from the FOY Group. Members would be aware that the group submitted an EIS for the proposed plastic to fuel facility earlier on. The process, of course, for an EIS is not an approvals process; it is an information-gathering exercise about the potential impacts of the proposal. That draft EIS was publicly notified between 26 August and 2 November last year, and we had 63 representations at that point.

Some of the main issues raised in the public consultation process included air quality impacts, pollution and risk of fire. A revised EIS was submitted to the Planning and Land Authority, which considered that that sufficiently addressed the scoping document. Although the EIS was accepted by the authority, there were some residual concerns about the extent of those impacts and a panel was established to consider those impacts further.

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