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Labor to move motion on Abbott's comments

Date

Peter Jean and Jonathan Swan

The federal opposition leader Tony Abbott.

The federal opposition leader Tony Abbott. Photo: Penny Stephens

ACT Labor wants Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to endorse a ''Statement of Commitment to Canberra'' after he suggested more public servants should be based outside the ACT.

On Monday, Mr Abbott said during an interview with a Geelong radio station that as many federal public jobs as reasonably possible should be located away from Canberra.

Labor MLA Chris Bourke will move a motion in the Assembly on Wednesday asking Speaker Vicki Dunne to write to the federal Opposition Leader about his comments.

Mr Abbott's office accused the ACT government last night of misleading the people of Canberra with the motion and said the ACT would benefit from a stronger national economy under a Coalition government.

If the Labor motion is adopted by the assembly, Mr Abbott will be asked to: ''Respond in writing to the assembly on his intentions on the federal public service including any current plans to relocate departments, agencies or other Canberra-based entities outside of the ACT.''

He would also be asked to endorse a statement of commitment to the national capital, signed by the federal government last year.

The statement included a ''commitment for Canberra remaining the heart of the Australian Public Service and the primary location of government department and agencies''.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott said the opposition remained committed to cutting 12,000 jobs from the public service through natural attrition.

''The ACT Labor Party should explain why it is dishonestly misleading the people of Canberra with this motion,'' the spokesman said.

''It is Coalition policy to reduce the size of the public service by 12,000 through natural attrition.

''The Commonwealth public sector payroll is 20,000 greater now than at the end of 2007, so a reduction by natural attrition of 12,000 would still leave the Commonwealth public sector payroll bigger than it was when the Howard government left office.''

The spokesman said ACT Labor had failed to condemn the Gillard government's use of an efficiency dividend and slashing of 3000 public service jobs.

''There will be a stronger economy if the Coalition is elected in September and that will benefit Canberra,'' the spokesman said.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said Mr Abbott should make clear before the election what commitment he had for Canberra.

''He needs to make it clear on that: what is his commitment to Canberra, what his commitment is to the public service and any plans he has to move agencies and departments out of Canberra,'' she said.

17 comments

  • Governments of both colours have been hinting at this for decades, and nothing happens. It is not different from the talk to get agencies to move from Civic/Barton to either Gungahlin, Tuggeranong or Woden. Regardelss. Moving them out of the ACT will not happen as it will cost to much and pennies are tight.

    Commenter
    Steve
    Date and time
    May 08, 2013, 7:21AM
    • This is yet more proof that ACT Labor is still wasting oxygen and money. Steve at 7:21am, you're absolutely spot on.

      Commenter
      twentytwenty
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 8:17AM
      • Question for Chris Burke. Why are you not concerned over the at least 550 positions axed from DIICCSRTE, Broadband, Finance and CSIRO in the past month?

        Katy Gallagher you said of Abbott "''He needs to make it clear on that: what is his commitment to Canberra, what his commitment is to the public service and any plans he has to move agencies and departments out of Canberra''.

        Are you demanding the same from Gillard?

        Political grandstanding from hypocrites.

        Commenter
        BBA
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        May 08, 2013, 8:20AM
        • I notice another headline in today's CT re 3000 jobs going in the last year in the PS, after 10 years of growth in numbers. Who was in charge for most of those 10 years? Who was in charge for the last 12 months? Typical hysteria from labor

          Commenter
          Capital
          Date and time
          May 08, 2013, 8:59AM
          • Abbott will say whatever plays for the rubes in Geelong, do a 180 in another location and then find a reason why neither thing can be done. Remember what he once said, that you cannot believe anything he says unless it's in writing.

            Decentralisation might get a token action, but it will be reeled in as soon as Abbott's government realises it cannot get things done from a distance.

            Commenter
            YS
            Date and time
            May 08, 2013, 9:12AM
            • Perhaps someone should have a word in Tony's ear and let him know that 2/3's of the public service resides outside of Canberra. But hey, a politician will never let a screaming headline get in way the fact.

              Commenter
              Wing Nut
              Date and time
              May 08, 2013, 9:17AM
              • It's what you would expect from Labor. The job cuts and redundancies are happening now.BBA has it exactly right, and also include FAHCSIA, Finance,Customs, ATO, bloody unions an absolute disgrace in looking after themselves and the labor government. So how about mentioning that eh.

                Commenter
                xtrail
                Location
                Tuggeranong
                Date and time
                May 08, 2013, 9:29AM
                • A few facts:

                  60% of the PS are located outside of Canberra, the break up is; more than 45,000 in Sydney & Melbourne; more than 11,00 in Brisbane; 9000 in Adelaide; 6500 in Perth; 3300 in Hobart; 21000 outside of capital cities.

                  The PS has grown by 13000 (8.4%) since June 2007.

                  The Howard Govt retrenched 29000 PS between 1996 - 1999, then increased the PS by 35000 between 2001 - 2007.

                  Those who were living in Canberra in 1966 do you remember what happended to the Canberra economy when the 29000 PS were retrenched?

                  Commenter
                  Litoria
                  Date and time
                  May 08, 2013, 10:00AM
                  • Houses became affordable for those who don't work in the public service. Bring it on!

                    Commenter
                    Richo
                    Location
                    Canberra
                    Date and time
                    May 08, 2013, 10:23AM
                  • Litoria,

                    You bring facts and logic into a discussion about Mr Abbott and the Coalition. Do you see where you've gone wrong?

                    Commenter
                    That Guy
                    Location
                    Canberra
                    Date and time
                    May 08, 2013, 11:53AM

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