Page 1277 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017
relocation on the public record and demonstrates our strong dedication to Canberra public servants and protecting their jobs.
Federally we have seen leadership from Senator Katy Gallagher, Dr Andrew Leigh MP and Gai Brodtmann MP as they continue to oppose this move. On the contrary—and somewhat unsurprisingly—Senator Zed Seselja has once again failed to protect Canberra workers. When the Turnbull government moved to go ahead with the relocation Senator Zed Seselja stood by and did nothing to stop it. By voting in favour of the government agencies decentralisation motion in the Senate, Zed condoned Barnaby Joyce’s attack on the public service and Canberra families.
As local representatives, we must continue to stand up for Canberra jobs and take action regardless of the careless pork-barrelling by the coalition government. This motion calls on the federal government to support a strong Australian public service in Canberra, and I urge all members to support it.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (5.27): Once again, we have a motion that is primarily federal in nature. But this one, I think it is probably fair to say, does have a much stronger link to the territory than perhaps some of the other motions that we have discussed. As Ms Orr has noted in her motion, over the decades—indeed, since Canberra’s beginning—federal governments of both sides of politics have done work to bring government agencies to Canberra and, therefore, many public service jobs to Canberra.
By the same token, though, reductions in public service job numbers or movements of the Australian public service out of Canberra have meant that there have been changes to numbers here in the ACT, again under governments from both sides of politics. The fluctuations in APS jobs are not something new. They have been occurring since Canberra’s beginning as the home of the Australian public service.
As the national capital, maintaining and growing the Australian public service inside the ACT will be a constant and ongoing challenge. But it is a challenge that the Canberra Liberals are committed to. The Canberra Liberals are committed to lobbying for Canberra as the home of the Australian public service, because its rightful place is here in the national capital.
The public service is vital for Canberra. It is vital for those people who are directly employed but also for those indirectly employed and for their associated families and networks. Businesses right across town, be they big or small, rely on the public service in one form or another. Of course, the public service is also a driver of residents to the ACT. If not us, then our parents, our parents’ parents or perhaps even further back may well have come to Canberra in one form or another due to the public service being here.
As local politicians, fighting for our area, fighting for our city in the Federation is worth while. It is something that we as the Canberra Liberals will stand up for. Members of the ACT Assembly should be able to put on a united front for Canberra to make sure that we get our fair share and that we are able to serve the nation, as we always have, through the public service.