Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1286 ..
an immobile workforce that gets stuck in a constricted paradigm. Having the departments so near to the ANU and University of Canberra also ensures that they are up to date with the latest policy research.
The Prime Minister likes to talk about the “knowledge economy” fostering a so-called “innovation nation”. If he wants to give this weight, the worst thing he could do is chip away at Canberra. Indeed, any digital-centric industrial strategy needs to have a strong focus on Canberra. It was, of course, the CSIRO that invented wi-fi. The ANU is at the heart of so many groundbreaking scientific and technological developments that this nation has had. This is the most highly educated part of the country and its citizens have so much to offer.
Thankfully, the ACT government has been attempting to make up for the failures of the federal government in this area. The ACT government is dedicated to continuing the enthusiasm Menzies had for Canberra by building light rail, part of Walter Burley Griffin’s plan for Canberra. This was partly an attempt to mitigate the negative effect the federal government public service cuts have had on business confidence in the ACT.
The ACT government has just moved over 1,000 public servants from the ACT Health Directorate and Access Canberra to Woden and has also shifted over 700 public servants to Winyu House in Gungahlin in recognition that all regions of the territory need support. The ACT government has also sought to diversify our economy so that it is not so reliant on the APS. But given how many of our residents are employed by the commonwealth, there is only so much that can be done in this regard.
I believe that Canberrans are strong. They outlived the brutal cuts of the Howard years and so too can they live through the ruthless neglect of this Liberal government. But to allow Canberra to reach its full potential and for the Australian public service to best discharge its mandate to help all Australians, we need the federal government to strenuously promote both. I commend Ms Orr’s motion to the Assembly.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (6.02): I am pleased to stand as a strong supporter of Ms Orr’s motion, and I am delighted that this has tripartisan support. I am particularly grateful to the opposition leader for his contribution to and recognition of this important issue.
In the recent vote on number plate slogans, 50 per cent of voters wanted to keep “Canberra—The Nation’s Capital” on our cars. It is one of many strong ways in which we identify ourselves. We are very fond of our role as the seat of federal parliament and the administrative heart of this country. It is part of our culture, our economy and our character.
The Australian public service plays a significant role in the Canberra economy as a whole and in the local economies of town centres. While employment in Canberra is far more diverse than ever, thanks in part to this ACT government, the federal public service remains a major employer. And, as the nation’s capital, it rightly should. There are over 155,000 employees in the Australian Public Service, and 37 per cent of