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Labor's ACT MPs lament public service pain


Peter Jean

ACT federal Labor parliamentarians Gai Brodtmann and Kate Lundy say they are disappointed with the cuts to the public service announced in the budget but that even more jobs could have been lost.

Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh has refused to say if he was disappointed by the job cuts, stating that ''difficult decisions'' had to be made in the budget.

Ms Brodtmann said yesterday she was saddened by the job losses revealed in the budget papers but promised to lobby ministers to ensure all reductions were achieved through natural attrition or voluntary redundancies.

''I am disappointed with the 1500 public sector jobs [going], but the government is committed to getting back to a surplus and we had to make some tough decisions,'' she said.

Ms Brodtmann said that she, Dr Leigh, Senator Lundy and Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly had made ''constant representations'' to ministers in the lead up to the budget in an effort to protect public service jobs.

''It could have been worse,'' she said.

Senator Lundy, who was recently appointed Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs, said she was disappointed the budget included a negative impact on job levels in the public service.

''I'm always disappointed if there is any impact at all and I spend a lot of my time arguing to be able to sustain the numbers,'' Senator Lundy said.

''That said, I think we've been able to constrain the reduction in public sector numbers to a minium.''

Asked three times if he was personally disappointed by the job losses, Dr Leigh said: ''It's a hard budget and it's a tough situation across the board. There's a range of difficult decisions we've had to make.''

Dr Leigh rejected suggestions that the ACT may have fared better in the budget if it was represented by independent MPs instead of Labor members.

''I think of this being like the person who wants their partner to take notice of them so they go and start flirting with the ugly rich guy across the corridor,'' he said.

''The problem with that is that you might end up with the ugly rich guy and that's probably not what you want in the end.''

Senator Lundy also rejected suggestions that Canberra might receive better treatment from federal governments if it was not considered to be a safe Labor town.

She said Labor's concern for Canberra was demonstrated by the fact job losses had been minimised and would be achieved through natural attrition and voluntary redundancies.

''I think it's been done thoughtfully and carefully and cannot be seen in anyway as taking Canberra for granted,'' Senator Lundy said.

''In fact the opposite: I think the care and the concern shown with the approach shows that there is a great deal of regard for the role of the public sector and as local members we'll advocate that.''

Ms Brodtmann said federal Labor had made significant investment in the ACT since coming to power in 2007, including funding for national institutions, the Majura Parkway, Monaro Highway, schools and health care.

The three Labor members said the public service would suffer far more drastic cuts if the coalition formed a government.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday repeatedly criticised the government for allowing the public service to grow by more than 20,000 positions since the 2007 election. Dr Leigh planned to meet ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr to discuss options for Commonwealth public servants to transfer to the local government if their positions were abolished.

9 comments so far

  • Yada yada yada Ms Lundy. Where is the effect you have on decisions regarding your electorate ?

    eden monaro
    Date and time
    May 10, 2012, 9:16AM
    • There is only one cure for this dilemma,vote Brodtmann,and Fraser out,Do you want to be apart of a winning formula,make Canberra a marginal seat,whether you vote Labor or Liberal,we all win...Now do it Canberra "Think"

      Martin says
      Date and time
      May 10, 2012, 10:05AM
      • A few months ago this Government were screaming that the Coalition planned to reduce Public Service numbers. "Back to the early Howard days" we heard.

        Can we call them two-faced hypocrites now ?

        Date and time
        May 10, 2012, 10:19AM
        • If ever any politicians where a waste of space and taxpayers hard earned this Labor mob are, Lundy & Brodtmann not so much but Leigh the economist, totally.
          If all chose to for go their $50k salary rise that would keep 3 people employed because contrary to popular belief there are a plethora of people, hard workin people that do not earn that much a year.
          I offer a challenge right here, right now to any of you, preferably Leigh to swap jobs for a month.
          Andrew, quick question, do you or the taxpayer pay for your flits interstate for economic lectures etc.

          Nitro Gangster
          Date and time
          May 10, 2012, 10:52AM
          • Kate Lundy you knew about the public service cuts the whole time. So don't try and cover up now because you are going out the door with Gillard.

            You politicians are incredible. You all have your pay rises and entitlements when you leave your seats and now it's also been revealed you pay minimal tax. So everyone else who earns over $300,000 has had their taxes increased, but that rule doesn't apply to politicians.

            Just another Gillard sleazy deal. Labor = sleaze!

            Date and time
            May 10, 2012, 11:01AM
            • ... and yet the dedicated public servants of the ACT willl continue to vote Labor without a second thought.

              Julia Rudd
              the Lodge
              Date and time
              May 10, 2012, 11:18AM
              • Single income person (aka SINK), there is the flood levy, then mining tax with no compo, then reduce private health rebate, nothing in this budget, now no job security. Can not see any reason to vote labor. So its now independants then Liberal votes from me for both houses of parliment. All hollow words from the current crop

                Date and time
                May 10, 2012, 12:22PM
                • I think most Canberra voters are like lambs to the slaughter continuing to vote Labor and only take notice or protest when it is to late as their throats are cut.

                  old goat
                  Date and time
                  May 10, 2012, 12:27PM
                  • I wouldn't vote Labor even for another $900 and free insulation and an extention to the school down the road, I've never voted them anyway. These people couldn't run a coffee shop with 10 staff serving 5 people.

                    Date and time
                    May 10, 2012, 10:48PM

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