Back to the future

The Abbott Government continues to show its disdain, contempt and lack of respect for the public service and Canberra.

As predicted, Canberra and the capital region are bearing the brunt of the Abbott Government's harsh and sweeping public service job cuts.

And the job losses, the forced hiring freeze and the threat of privatising and outsourcing public service functions are taking their toll on Canberra's economy.

Through my business walkarounds I get to speak to businesses large and small, in the semi- industrial enclaves in Fyshwick and Hume, in the satellite city centres in Woden, Weston Creek, Tuggeranong and the inner south.

And the story always seems to be the same: consumer confidence has been down since the election, and it dipped even lower in the lead-up to the Budget.

Canberrans closed their wallets and purses and just stopped spending.

Canberra businesses are doing it tough across every sector.

Their profits have either plateaued or, in some cases, dropped about 20 to 30 per cent.

We saw this in 1996 and we're seeing it again.

Because what the Abbott Government fails to understand is that an attack on the public service is an attack on Canberra’s businesses. A strong private sector relies on a strong public service.

I will continue to stand up and fight for the public service. Public servants are valuable and valued people who keep Australia working.

They support our community; they manage our hospitals, our schools, our universities and our transport networks; and they look after our forests and oceans, our nation’s security and our cultural institutions.

But, more than that, they are altruistic, they are people who take pride in their work.

And they are people with families, with mortgages and with car repayments – like every other Australian.

I will also continue to stand up for a strong and central public service based here in Canberra.

It is a model Sir Robert Menzies championed and established, and I will continue to advocate for his legacy.

Labor will continue to stand up against the Abbott Government’s attacks on the public service and Canberra. To demonstrate this I will be taking part in the CPSU's National Day of Action next Wednesday. 

Because they are attacks on our nation’s servants of democracy, attacks on the seat of our democracy and attacks on Canberra’s prosperity and future.

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