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Thursday, 5 December 1974

Mr Street asked the Minister for the Capital Territory, upon notice:

(   1 ) What action has he initiated to take account of the Government decision to put a ceiling of 2.6 per cent on the growth of the Public Service and Government authorities.

(2)   What is the estimated decrease in demand for housing resulting from the above decision.

(3)   What is the estimated saving in Government expenditure on services and facilities resulting from the above decision.

Mr Bryant - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Public Service Board has acted to contain the growth of the Public Service to 2.6 per cent by imposing a staff ceiling on each Department.

At 30 June 1974 the Department of the Capital Territory had 3,056 staff. Under the staff restraint imposed by the Prime Minister the Department obtained a ceiling increase of 160. To operate within this modest increase, cuts were made in most areas of potential or present activity.

The reduced allocation of staff means that the Department will be recruiting fewer professional and technical staff, parking inspectors, gardeners and other industrial employees than it could otherwise use.

Comparison of ceiling increases allowed in recent years is:


(2)   The growth in the Public Service is only one factor in the growth rate of Canberra. A reduction in growth would reduce the demand for housing but the effect on the overall demand for housing would be very difficult to estimate with any accuracy. Given the backlog built up over many years, reduction of growth rates would not ease the pressures of demand for some time to come.

(3)   The overall saving in Government expenditure on services and facilities is a question for the Treasurer.

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