Independent Senate Candidate for the ACT, Anthony Pesec, has called for the removal of Federal Government policies that are crippling the viability of Canberra’s national institutions.
“The operation of important agencies such as the National Library, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and National Archives is severely impeded by the continued impact of the efficiency dividend and average staffing level caps.
“These are small organisations without the ability to achieve economies of scale. They are vital to Canberra in terms of employment, attracting tourists to the city and in preserving and presenting their great collections.
“The budgeted savings from these institutions pale into insignificance when compared with the half billion dollars the Coalition proposes to lavish on an unnecessary expansion of the Australian War Memorial.”
Mr Pesec said that Liberal Minister and ACT Senator Zed Seselja has done nothing to ensure the adequate ongoing resourcing of these important national treasures.
“His admission this week that he failed repeatedly to persuade the Government to lift the staffing cap demonstrates just how ineffective he has been at protecting Canberra’s interests.
“Similarly, Senator Seselja has said over many years that he does not support the efficiency dividend but has failed spectacularly to do anything about it.
“Labor pretends to worry about the efficiency dividend but refuses to promise abolishing the core Dividend introduced by the Hawke Government.
“If elected, I will fight for abolition of the efficiency dividend and staffing cap on Canberra’s national institutions”, Mr Pesec said.
Mr Pesec said that he welcomed the recommendations of the recent parliamentary committee report on Canberra’s national institutions but believed they did not go far enough in addressing the negative effects of these restrictions.
“The ACT needs an independent Senator who will put its interests first, and that is what I will do if elected on 18 May. Our current Labor and Liberal Senators talk tough but deliver little. I will change that”, Mr Pesec said.