Page 2641 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 21 September 2022

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It is not for me to prejudge an ERC process or, indeed, a cabinet process in relation to what initiative will or will not be funded. Certainly, a question of this kind is seeking for me to announce government policy in question time, which does border on or is stretching the standing order, I would have thought. It is certainly taking it to its outer edge!

Of course, Mr Davis, every single proposal that comes forward before the expenditure review committee is very worthy. Not every single proposal can be funded in any given budget round. It is the job of the expenditure review committee to make the decision—the three members sitting here on the front bench, including your own party leader, who is involved in that process. I am sure you are all familiar with how the budget works. So the question itself does appear to be a little bit leading and designed, perhaps, for a social media outcome.

Members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Members! I knew you would be aware, Mr Barr, of not making announcements in an answer.

MR DAVIS: You will love this one, Chief! Chief Minister, can you commit to ensuring that Canberra’s teachers remain the highest paid teachers in this country after this round of enterprise bargaining negotiations?

MR BARR: Again, the government’s approach to the enterprise bargaining round is to ensure that the ACT public service, through the combination of salary, wage and conditions, and the totality of employment within the ACT public sector, remains both attractive and competitive with other states and territories.

I can control, at any certain period of time, the extent to which the ACT’s offer is comparable or otherwise with other jurisdictions. Of course, it may well be, over the course of an enterprise bargaining period, that another state or territory may leapfrog each other at different levels of employment within different occupations. We have certainly had a long history of having very attractive salary offers and conditions compared to other states and territories in the teaching profession.

MR BRADDOCK: Chief Minister, what is the time frame for the enterprise bargaining negotiations with Canberra’s teachers?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Braddock for the question. Most enterprise bargaining agreements—I believe, including the teachers’—have an expiry in this calendar year, between now and the end of Christmas. We have been receiving, as part of the bargaining process, logs of claims from unions on behalf of their members. The government is processing those, and getting some early indications of the costs associated with each of the items within each of the logs of claims. This is across all areas of ACT government employment, so it involves engagement with around 15 different trade unions and across multiple agreements. It will be a busy period of bargaining that will commence in the next few months, beyond where we are now, which is the receipt of logs of claims. The whole-of-government agreement was rolled over for another 12 months, and I believe it expires towards the end of October.

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