ACT News


Jobs central to Gallagher's plans

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will take on the new ministerial portfolios of higher education and regional affairs as part of a drive to create jobs and gradually reduce the ACT's economic dependence on federal government spending.

Ms Gallagher is also considering merging the Chief Minister's and Treasury directorates into a new powerful central agency to drive her agenda of employment creation and improving health and education services.

A new five-member cabinet - including Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury - is expected to be appointed by the end of the week.

Ms Gallagher confirmed on Sunday that she intended to stay on as health minister but would also work with the ACT's universities and local south-eastern NSW councils to create new opportunities for the Canberra region.

''If you look at the health catchment, we're a regional provider to 600,000 people,'' Ms Gallagher said.

''Why wouldn't we be looking at the regional services centre in a whole range of the other areas?''


Ms Gallagher said the combined purchasing power of the ACT government could be used to get better value for ratepayers in the delivery of a range of services.

''There's endless opportunities around the administration-side of the economy.

''We've got all of the south-east councils providing legal services and waste services, road services. If you thought it through, used your buying power and Canberra participates as part of south-east NSW, you could actually I think look at opportunities there.''

Ms Gallagher wanted Canberra to change ''from being just a Commonwealth town whose economic future rests heavily on what the federal government of the day is deciding at the point in time''.

She was already working closely with universities on projects such as the construction of the University of Canberra Hospital and it made sense for her to take responsibility for helping to increase the local tertiary sector and CIT.

Ms Gallagher also wanted to make changes to the way government was administered and this could involve the creation of a single central agency to drive her policy agenda across the bureaucracy.

''It would involve Chief Minister's and Treasury [directorates] coming together into one central agency providing single central policy advice to the administration,'' Ms Gallagher said.

''I think there have been times when you get a view from Treasury and a view from Chief Minister's that aren't the same and it does genuinely create difficulties when you're making decisions in a small government, in a small administration with a small number of ministers.''

Ms Gallagher would also explore options for senior public service executives to move around the service to help them gain better knowledge of how the government operated.

The territory's eight Labor and sole Greens MLA will on Tuesday use their combined numbers to confirm Ms Gallagher as Chief Minister when the eighth Legislative Assembly meets for the first time.

Despite not having the numbers to win, Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said he would be standing for the position.

''Without a doubt, I imagine I'll have eight votes and I'll fall one vote short,'' he said.

Mr Seselja did not believe the new Labor-Greens alliance would lead to a better government in the ACT.

''I think we've got a government that was looking relatively ordinary towards the end of its term,'' Mr Seselja said.

''I think that 11 years in, 15 years in, anything's possible.

''I suspect Canberrans are in for a pretty rough time when it comes to their government.''


Comment are now closed