Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 November 2017) . . Page.. 5217 ..
We have criminalised drink and food spiking in the ACT, a crime which disproportionately targets women, particularly young women. We have also stood up for workers in Canberra. When the federal government announced that they would be cutting the pay of the casual workforce, which represents some of the most vulnerable in our community, we loudly protested the changes in support of our workers.
When the federal government—two illegitimate members, I might add—announced their ill-conceived plan to decentralise the public service, we stood up for Canberra as our nation’s capital and the home of the Australian public service. We recognise that a strong public service workforce in Canberra is a linchpin to our economy and that any attempt to force a relocation is tantamount to asking many in our community to choose between their jobs and their home.
I have been vocal on this and I will not shut up. The ACT government and I, as a former federal public servant, recognising that federal public servants have their hands tied, their voices silenced and cannot speak for themselves, have made strong submissions to the inquiry on this. While the final decision on these issues may be out of our hands, it does not mean that we should not be standing up for our constituents, in spite of what the opposition leader might have had us believe throughout the year.
Our achievements in supporting the growth and development of Canberra have been considerable. Our boom in tourism, transport, city infrastructure and suburban development speak of a prosperous and thriving city. Investment in education, health and community welfare speak to the safe and compassionate city that nurtures the all-round wellbeing of our community. Perhaps the achievement I am most proud of, a willingness to consistently stand up for the most vulnerable in our community, speaks of an empathetic city with integrity and an open mind (Time expired).
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.15): I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing this motion forward today and providing us with an opportunity to speak about the achievements of the past year and the exciting initiatives that will be delivered over the next 12 months by the ACT government.
I do intend to speak to the motion, particularly in the area of higher education and research. As the Chief Minister has said, however, those opposite have taken the opportunity to reiterate a range of concerns, including in a number of my own portfolios. While this is not the focus of my speech today, I must record my ongoing disappointment at the complete inability of the opposition to recognise any of the ACT’s achievements that would enable them to make contributions that were perhaps a little more balanced and credible.
As the Chief Minister has said, we can always do better. We know that, and we work very hard to deliver on that. But when your youth justice strategy wins a national award for crime prevention and those opposite are unable to acknowledge any level of positive achievement—indeed, they just look annoyed whenever you mention that the