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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 1 June 1995) . . Page.. 728 ..


MR HUMPHRIES: Nonetheless, Mr Speaker, as I said, I do not take pleasure in not honouring our promises. In my career in politics I have prided myself on being able to honour pretty well most of the promises I have made in public life over the last six years, and I hope that that record will continue. Unfortunately, in my view, it was not possible to honour this one. I say to Mr Moore: If, as I have premised, it would have cost several million dollars to honour this promise, does he honestly believe that that would be the best way in which those millions of dollars should be spent, given the Territory's current financial position? I think that Mr Moore, in my position, would agree that it was not and would accept that we need to make rational decisions about the extent to which other priorities have the first call on the ACT's available dollars.

Department of Education and Training - Equal EmploymentOpportunity Officer

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. Mr Stefaniak, today we see more evidence of this Government's attitude to equal employment opportunities - in particular, the management of sexual harassment in the public service. My question relates to the position of the equal employment opportunity officer within your department. Could you please explain why you are permitting the downgrading and marginalisation of the officer by the transfer of the officer from the central office of your department to an inappropriate and inaccessible location at Griffith?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I totally reject a lot of her emotive language and the jumping to a series of conclusions, as she did in the last couple of sentences. There is, indeed, a transfer. It has been worked out between the department and the officer. I note that, over the last couple of weeks, the union has been involved in relation to it, and no doubt Ms McRae is reacting in relation to that. Mr Speaker, the department has an EEO unit, comprising a teacher level 2 and an administrative service officer, which provides assistance and policy advice to schools and its central office. The unit is presently located in Manning Clark House, and it is planned that a move will be made shortly to the O'Connell Education Centre in Griffith.

There is a variety of reasons for the planned move, all of which have been explained to the union and to the relevant people. Firstly, the O'Connell Centre provides extensive training for school and office staff from the centre. The EEO unit will be able to greatly assist in these activities by being in a central training location and, as well, it will be readily available to the 7,000 staff who use the centre each year. Secondly, the location provides a more confidential and secure environment than presently exists at Manning Clark House. The refurbished accommodation at the centre has taken account of the need for confidentiality - something which I think is very important for the EEO officer and staff there. Also, the location is only about 15 or 20 minutes from the Tuggeranong office, and government-plated vehicles are available for travel purposes for all officers working at the centre. The centre, obviously, is also a lot closer to North Canberra.


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