Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3921..
MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question. Minister, why did you say yesterday that nothing had come to your office when you at least knew that that information had come from the CPSU?
MS GALLAGHER: I did not know. The CPSU contacted my office to say that there was someone out there alleging a whole range of things about matters to do with education and repairs and maintenance within their budget. Nothing that Mrs Burke was referring to yesterday when she read out the details that she had and that she referred to again in the adjournment debate and alleged had my name on it, saying that it had come to my office, has come to my office. I have checked. None of that material has come to my office. There was a phone call from the CPSU to an adviser in my office. The adviser contacted the department to say that we had been told that these allegations were being made-a number of allegations; there weren't specific allegations-and the department advised me that I could not be briefed on it. I have been very clear on this matter and I stand by the comments I have made.
MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question without notice is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. I understand that there is a great deal of discontent amongst WorkCover staff about a restructure that has reclassified a number of positions to lower levels, without consultation. Indeed, I understand that the level of discontent amongst the staff is so high that WorkCover employees are considering picketing the Assembly. Why have you restructured WorkCover without consultation, resulting in so much discontent amongst workers?
MS GALLAGHER: As usual, the opposition have got one side of a story, accepted it as the truth and raised a whole range of allegations about my involvement with that. WorkCover is currently going through enterprise bargaining negotiations for schedule 2 of the template agreement. During those negotiations, there has been some robust discussion between the Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner and the WorkCover work force.
I met with the unions on Friday. They raised their concerns about what was going on in WorkCover. We had a discussion with the Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner and have supported further discussions on the matters that are being raised through the negotiation process. It is part of a negotiation process.
I have not imposed a restructure on WorkCover. I have not reclassified any positions. You have got to understand that there are negotiations under way for a certified agreement, and those negotiations have not finished. In the normal course of negotiations, there is a bit of turbulence about what everybody wants. We have seen that in every negotiation in the territory. It is quite normal. Those negotiations will continue. There is nothing more sinister behind it than that open, robust negotiation process.
MR PRATT: Minister, why are you downgrading in this sensitive area?
MS GALLAGHER: I have answered the question.