Today Zed Seselja and Tony Abbott showed they don’t understand how much public service cuts hurt Canberra. My media statement with my ACT Federal colleagues is below.
Senator the Hon Kate Lundy
Senator for the Australian Capital Territory
Gai Brodtmann MP
Member for Canberra
Andrew Leigh MP
Member for Fraser
PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS
In an article in today’s Canberra Times, Tony Abbott said “I accept that Canberra did it tough for a year or so, but … Canberra did very well under the Howard Government.”
This demonstrates that Mr Abbott doesn’t understand the pain inflicted on Canberra by the Howard Government’s savage public sector cuts.
During the 2010 federal election, the Liberals announced 12,000 local job cuts but since then their target has risen sharply to 20,000 jobs.
This is nothing new for the Liberal Party. Before the 1996 election, the Liberals said they would cut 2500 jobs. After winning office, more than 30,000 public servants lost their jobs.
Slashing public service jobs in Canberra will affect the entire ACT economy. In 1996-97, the impact of the Howard Government’s job cuts was to:
• Slash $25,000 from the price of the average Canberra home (in an era when house prices were much lower than they are today);
• Increase the ACT unemployment rate by 1 percentage points; and
• Increase personal bankruptcies in the ACT by around 100 bankruptcies per year.
Unlike the Liberals, we believe that a strong public service is essential to support the community and deliver critical government programs.
On top of job cuts, the Liberals have also indicated they will ‘outsource’ jobs currently done by the Australian Public Service to the States. This will mean additional job losses in the national capital.
Commonwealth public servants provide important advice on big issues affecting our whole nation.
Today we saw ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja stand alongside Tony Abbott while he made these statements.
We know Zed Seselja will never protect Canberra from the worst excesses of the Federal Liberals.