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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2961..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

quite happy to go along with the Transport Workers Union and allow two significant meetings of the work force. These occurred, in fact. The relationship is sound.

We have come across a position at the moment where the Transport Workers Union disagrees particularly strongly with one of the issues on the table. I am of the view that this is just one of those issues on which from time to time a resolution may very well need to be made, either by an independent umpire or it will come about through negotiation. The sad part about this particular instance today was the notice that was given. If the notice had been more reasonable, the government would have taken a particularly different position at the moment.

What Mr Gentleman said yesterday about the relationship between management, the staff, the unions and the government is absolutely true. I congratulate him on bringing it forward to the Assembly. I am also quite happy to indicate to the Assembly my appreciation to Mr Gentleman for some of the insights into the needs the Transport Workers Union might bring to the table. His association with the Transport Workers Union goes back over many years. One needs to be particularly careful. I advise the Assembly and the community at large: be very careful of what the opposition say, because they will misconstrue support any time they can.

Mr Gentleman is in the fortunate position of being able to advocate positions and to be the bearer of information from both sides of an argument, and I am grateful for that position. We will not put up with accusations from over there about Mr Gentleman. I believe that what he said yesterday was spot on the money and I am very glad that he did.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, when will you be able to sort out the mess that is creating such concern and such disruption to both the drivers and the community?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, the process of conversation with the Transport Workers Union is ongoing. They are part of a wider group of people having conversations about the changes that must ensue to make ACTION an even better service than it is today. The answer to Mrs Dunne's question is: day by day and constantly.

Education—funding

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for education. As part of the 2006-07 budget, the government announced a record capital injection into education. Can the minister please inform the Assembly what benefits schools can expect from this funding?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question and for his longstanding interest in and support for our public education system. The Stanhope government has invested heavily in education since being elected in 2001, with increases in the order of 30 per cent in education expenditure since then. The 2006-07 budget continued that investment and contained a record $90 million for capital upgrades to our public schools. That was on top of the regular $11.3 million that the government invests every year in capital upgrades for schools. The $90 million will greatly increase the quality of teaching and learning environments for ACT teachers and students.


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