Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1278 ..
However, it is worth noting that the pork-barrelling that Ms Orr spoke about is by no means solely attributed to one side of politics. Of course, one of the biggest such operations was the Gillard government’s decision to put the NDIS in Geelong. That is far and away I think the biggest pork-barrelling exercise we have seen for decades. There was no mention of that in Ms Orr’s speech; no mention whatsoever.
I am sure that somebody will stand up and say, “That was different because that was a new agency,” but in actual fact Canberra public servants did relocate to Geelong. In fact, I believe it is still happening with some positions, and it was certainly planned when the Labor government made that call, let us face it, in order to support one or two marginal electorates in and around Geelong, most notably Corio.
There have also been other public service jobs that have either been set up or been relocated to other parts of Canberra. But the Canberra Liberals will continue to be resolute in our position that the public service’s home is here in the ACT. That is always something that we will fight for. It is something that I have said in the media in recent weeks and months, and it is something that I will continue to say. I think that the arguments to move jobs out of Canberra are considerably weaker than the arguments to keep jobs in Canberra.
Of course, it was Kevin Rudd who said that he would take the meataxe to the federal public service when he committed to slashing 14,500 jobs in the public service. This fact, or this part of history, seems to have been erased from the collective memory of those opposite: that he took a meataxe to the public service. That, I think, did incredible damage to our city’s reputation and, indeed, to the public service reputation.
Regardless of whether it is a Liberal government up on the hill or a Labor government on the hill, the Canberra Liberals will fight, as is our duty, and as is customary in each jurisdiction of a federation, to make sure that we get a good deal. Whilst this is a federal issue, it has significant impact here in the ACT, and almost exclusively here in the ACT. To that end, the Canberra Liberals will be supporting the motion.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.33): The Greens, of course, agree with this motion. I am glad that there has been an outbreak of tripartisanship because, after all, Canberra was built to be the capital of Australia. That is our purpose in life. It is absolutely important that the commonwealth public service is, to quite a large extent, located here.
I do say “to quite a large extent” because I understand that in fact the majority of the public service is located doing service delivery in other parts of Australia. Nonetheless, in the interests of having an efficient, effective, collaborative public service, it is important to have them together, together with lobbyists, diplomats, scientists and educationalists, all the things that make Canberra the great educational, intellectual, democratic capital of Australia.
I think there is another thing that should be noted as far as Canberra goes. It is that Canberra is the most successful example of decentralisation in Australia. We have the situation that Sydney and Melbourne are growing rapidly and have been doing that for