Page 1279 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017

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a long time. That is where new immigrants are coming. Given that probably everyone here would agree that we do not want to see Australia simply become Sydney or Melbourne, I think it is really important to support successful decentralisation. Unfortunately, we have only really done it successfully once in Australia.

I can remember Albury-Wodonga. It has grown, but it has not become what everyone thought it would be. So I think that Australia runs the risk of having a number of small towns that never get critical mass if public service agencies are moved randomly to other locations.

On that note, I would also point out that people are social. The internet is not a substitute for actual real-life human interaction. Of course, with the current federal government’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN, the internet is not even adequate in many places to consider it being an alternative to face-to-face communication.

I will not speak much more. We all agree. Ms Orr is speaking the bleeding obvious as far as Canberra is concerned. We will support the motion.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (5.36): I thank Ms Orr for bringing forward such an important motion about the future of the city and, of course, Canberra’s ongoing role as the national capital. We have always been fierce advocates of retaining Canberra as the centre of governance and administration for Australia. We have fought against federal government cuts to the Australian public service.

Unfortunately, we have seen over an extended period of newly elected conservative governments, going back to the 1970s, exercises in significant cuts to our public sector, either through mechanisms of outright reduction in the number of employees or through relocations. I think it is important to put on the public record today, particularly in response to the comments of the Leader of the Opposition and some of the interjections earlier from the former leader of the opposition, the true story of public sector employment over the past 15 years or so.

I go to the authoritative source of the Australian Public Service Commission and their data on all employees within the Australian public service. Their most recent update has data from 30 June 2002 to 30 June 2016. I think it is important that the story of growth in the Australian public service over the era of the Rudd and Gillard governments is again put on the public record.

Yes, I acknowledge that former Prime Minister Rudd made an intemperate remark along the lines of taking a meataxe to the public service. He made that remark, but I think the actions of his government point to a different set of policy outcomes. When Prime Minister Rudd was elected in 2007, the Australian public service comprised 155,087 ongoing and non-ongoing employees. In 2008 it rose from 155,087 to 159,293. In 2009 it increased again to 161,270. In 2010 it rose again to 163,784. In 2011 it rose to 165,469. In 2012 it rose to 167, 330. The 2013 data, which would have included the—

Mr Coe: Keep going.

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