Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 460..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
classification scale on salary alone, ACT teachers will be better paid than New South Wales whilst working less student contact hours compared to their New South Wales counterparts. Put simply, under our offer ACT teachers will earn more, receive more super and work less hours than any other teachers in the country-not just when compared to New South Wales.
In relation to recruitment, we are not suffering from a recruitment problem; in fact, we are being flooded with applications for every position. There are currently 10 applications for every new teaching position. New teachers leaving university this year will start on a remuneration package of $53,736. For their first job out of university, that is the salary range they come under. This will move to $55,348 next year. Based on the current government offer, no ACT teacher would be wise to skip over the border and start teaching in the New South Wales system because they would take a financial cut to their remuneration package. ACT graduate classroom teachers are among the highest paid professionals in the country. As I said yesterday, this ranks them on a par with the medical profession, ahead of graduates in law, engineering, accounting and architecture.
When you look at the whole package, there is no doubt that the package on the table is the most generous we can afford; it keeps teachers where they need to be kept; and if they like to accept the three per cent per annum offer, it keeps their conditions untouched, with no productivity increases being sought. It is interesting to note that, in their dispute with the Carnell government in 1996, teachers were only after a nine per cent pay rise. This was when their real wages had been reduced by 25 per cent since 1975-and there was no strike action. A nine per cent pay rise was acceptable to the AEU then but they did not get that. The Carnell government maintained their strong industrial agenda. The teachers did not go on strike; they rolled over and accepted the offer.
This government-a generous government-has given teachers pay rises of between 18 and 25 per cent over the past 21/2 years. I cannot think of any other profession or work force anywhere in the country that has enjoyed such generous pay rises over the past 21/2 years in recognition of the fact that they were done over by you lot. The thing is that they accepted being done over. They did not mind being done over by the Liberal government. It said, "Let's just do you over, yes."The response was, "No; there are no worries, Kate; we will continue to work."There was no shutting down of schools then. "We'll take your paltry pay rise and wait for a Labor government to come in before we shut the government school system down."
This is a Labor government that has injected millions into the government school system, recognised the value of teachers, paid them what they deserve and put them at No 1 in the country. No teacher anywhere else in the country enjoys the conditions enjoyed by ACT teachers. What do they do? They go on strike. Next Tuesday 37,000 kids will not be able to attend school because the best paid teachers in the country bar none will be out there arguing for more money.
MRS DUNNE: My question is directed to the Minister for Industrial Relations. That was a lesson on how not to do industrial relations! This morning on ABC radio the AEU indicated that it would reject your latest pay offer and proceed with industrial action next