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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 9 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 3785..


MR BARR (continuing):

working with industry to achieve that laudable goal. But in terms of issues that the development lobby and the building industry are raising with me in relation to things that might potentially drive up the cost of housing, it is seven stars from the Greens.

ACTION bus service—enterprise bargaining agreement

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Transport. Would the minister please update members of the Assembly on the progress of negotiations between the Department of the Territory and Municipal Services and ACTION staff to develop a new enterprise bargaining agreement?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms Porter for the question. It is an important issue. I am sure all members in this place are aware of negotiations that have been ongoing for some little time now between ACTION—the management and staff of ACTION—in relation to a new enterprise agreement covering ACTION. It has been of some long standing now, as I say. The degree of progress that I think ACTION management, the government and, perhaps, the community would have liked has not yet eventuated, but ACTION continues to negotiate with the TWU and other unions to seek a mutually agreeable outcome from the negotiations.

At the heart of those negotiations are a number of claims which ACTION provided the unions with in relation to workplace reform, which ACTION—supported by the government, I have to say—believes is appropriate. I think it is important that members do understand the nature of those claims, and I will just go through them quickly, in summary form.

Claims that have been made by ACTION involve or actually propose the removal of a strict or designated 60:40 ratio of full-time drivers to part-time drivers. It is ACTION's view that the ratio represents an artificial restriction on ACTION's construction of current and future transport networks, and it is relevant—and we take this into account—that, in comparing ACTION's proportion of full-time drivers to those of benchmark public transport or best practice operators around Australia, the proportion of full-time drivers employed by ACTION is 2.5 times that of a notional best practice operator.

A second claim that was made relates to the requirements in the current agreement to meet specific establishment ratios or numbers, and it is the view of ACTION that this artificially limits ACTION's capacity to make adjustments to its business. For instance, the current agreement provides that ACTION employ, for instance, a set number of transport officers and that they have a set number—or set ratios—of staff in the ACTION workshops, in a collective agreement covering those in relation to, for instance, mechanics. Again, when we benchmark against other providers and when we look at those aspects of this particular business that do impede management prerogative, having a legislative, essentially, requirement to employ, say, 39 transport officers—when there is a view that as the business develops it is hard to justify those particular ratios for particular employees being set—requires us to seek to do something about that.

An additional claim was to remove the restrictions on the number of hours that part-time workers are able to work. Once again, it is the view of ACTION management,


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