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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 860..


MR MOORE (continuing):

Hospital wants to adjust something and they can provide the money for it, that does not worry me."

The negotiation was never between me and the nurses federation, nor should it have been. It was between management and the union. I have maintained that position all the way along, as indeed I should. The government was prepared to put up the money provided we had some things in return about improved management conditions. A package that was carefully prepared by me with my staff, with the staff of the department of health and with senior nurses from the Calvary Hospital, Canberra Hospital and Community Care was the offer.

Mr Stanhope, I do not know where you would possibly get the idea that suddenly the nurses federation came in and said, "Here is an offer we have got, and we want some money." I can tell you that the nurses federation were quite surprised at the time when we made this offer, which ought not to be astonishing to anybody here, because, to the best of my knowledge, it was the first time a government had taken the path of seeking to intervene within the period of an enterprise bargaining agreement in that way.

Economy

MR HIRD: My question is addressed to the Chief Minister, Mr Humphries. Is the Chief Minister aware of the important economic statistics relating to job advertisements, retail trading and average weekly earnings that have been released recently?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Hird for that question. A number of important statistics have been tabled recently on the economic state of the territory. I might say that they are all the more surprising given the background of much less satisfactory economic statistics for the rest of Australia. It is worth reflecting on what those figures show. The ANZ conducts assessments of job advertisements around the country. The ANZ survey showed that, in trend terms, the number of job advertisements in the ACT rose by 0.7 per cent in February, a total of 5.2 per cent over the 12 months to February 2001. The ACT was one of only two states or territories to record an increase in job advertisements over that same period.

On the same day, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its statistics on retail trade for the territory, and that was also very good news. The figures from the ABS show that the retail sector enjoyed a 0.9 per cent growth in the month of January alone. For the 12 months to January 2001, retail growth in the ACT was 14.4 per cent. The hospitality and services sector grew the fastest, with growth of 34.7 per cent. That is almost unbelievable-34.7 per cent growth in that sector in one year to January 2001.

There were also figures last week from the ABS on wages growth. The ACT is again leading the nation in average weekly earnings, with ACT employees earning an average of $766.10 per week. During the November quarter, average weekly earnings for all ACT employees grew by 1.7 per cent. And it is interesting to see the break-up between the genders of those figures, particularly with today being International Women's Day. Male employees' wages increased in that quarter by 1.5 per cent. Women's earnings increased by 2.6 per cent. So, in the 12 months to November of last year, wages grew by 8.6 per cent in the ACT. Bearing in mind that the inflation rate is much less than that-2, 3, 4 per cent or thereabouts-8.6 per cent is a pretty good outcome in terms of the cost


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