Page 1588 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017
ACT Labor government and the policies we have pursued. She is quite right: wage growth is better in Canberra, job growth is higher and people do, indeed, want to move here.
Leaving aside the commentary around the use of performance-enhancing drugs, she is right to point out the significant amount of infrastructure and development we are seeing in Canberra, providing jobs to thousands of local construction workers, not just public servants.
She goes on to talk about the high quality of Canberra’s restaurants and the number of cafes that have popped up around the city. Again, I think she has done well to capture the incredible improvements in amenity that Canberra has seen under this Labor government.
But here is the problem: Ms Devine does not think job growth and high wages are good for Canberra. No, when it is Canberrans that benefit, these typically positive outcomes are actually a negative. Ms Devine goes so far as to say that Canberrans are fat cats. I kid you not. The evidence for this is apparently by 5.30 many Canberrans can be found in their gym gear going for a run or walking the dog. I ask: what is wrong with that? This is all part of the world view that unless you are working 14 hours a day then you are not doing your job. I think it is great that people in Canberra work reasonable hours. I also think it is great that they enjoy outdoor activity after work. This is something that we should be encouraging in more workplaces and in more cities.
It is also probably worth noting, given we are just a day after the federal budget, that I think many officials at treasury or finance and, generally speaking, across the entire federal public service would scoff at the idea of finishing work at 5.30 pm. I would also like to add that I think there is an incredible level of hypocrisy when a news columnist of any variety goes around referring to the people of Canberra as having fat cat lifestyles. But this hypocrisy is all too common from the critics of Canberra. I think it is vital that we in this chamber and, indeed, everyone in this city stand up to the bullies.
The Australian public service is crucial to our city. And our city is crucial to Australia. The expertise that we have in Canberra is second to none. The Liberal government should be looking to foster and strengthen this expertise rather than strip it away. I commend this motion to the Assembly. I hope it receives the full support of all members of this chamber.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (4.23): I thank Ms Cheyne for bringing forward this motion. Our Labor government will always stand up for Canberra’s role as our national capital. Canberra is the seat of government and a place where people from all around Australia come to contribute. It is a place in our nation that we can be proud of. This motion continues the advocacy and leadership that our government has taken to stand up for our city.
We have, of course, discussed this motion in the context of last night’s 2017-18 federal budget—a budget that, as the Canberra Times has reported, will see