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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 462..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

The government will not be changing its position. I hope that the AEU listens to their members, that they look seriously at both offers on the table and that they withdraw the threats of industrial action so we can begin discussions in order to attempt to resolve the dispute.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, are your pay offers currently on the table fully quarantined from any decisions on pay and staffing reductions or productivity gains arising from the government's functional review?

MS GALLAGHER: The functional review has not reported. This offer is outside the functional review. It is being funded by the government; we have made that clear. It is not in any way a part of the functional review. How could it be part of anything that has not even reported yet? This wage offer stands alone. We want it resolved. We want it resolved quickly. We do not want to see the disruptions to the public system that appear to be inevitable next week. The offer is funded. The offer is generous. It keeps teachers as the best paid teachers in the country. We want them to stay at that position. We think it is good for the education system.

But the AEU will not be getting the best of this, the best of that and the best of something else, because we cannot afford it. We cannot afford what the AEU is asking for. We cannot afford the wage deal being done by the New South Wales government without offsetting that with the productivity savings already achieved by the New South Wales government. That is something they have done and sorted out with their teachers.

We cannot have the cherry picking that is going on by the AEU-to have a bit of this and a bit of that-but not accept the reality of the system here in the ACT, which has the lowest teacher contact hours, smallest class sizes, best remunerated teachers and best education system. That is what we have here. That seems not to be good enough for the AEU.

Fairbairn Avenue-perspex panels

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Motorists have been complaining for many months now to your department, to the opposition and even to the media about the blinding effect of the glass panels installed along Fairbairn Avenue to reduce noise. This morning, on radio, you agreed that the $350,000 perspex panels are "a glaring error, shall we say, and we have all the intention of addressing that and taking the shine off that particular sound barrier".

Why, in answer to a question on notice from Mr Pratt dated 8 December last year, did you insist that you had no plans to solve this potentially fatal road hazard as the perspex panels were not considered a problem?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the trick question. At the time of the response to Mr Pratt, the advice given to me was that it was not sufficiently serious to do that. On investigation later, with the number of complaints received in the office, we realised the severity of the issue, and we have moved to address it. As I said on radio today and as the acting CEO of the Department of Urban Services said earlier, we will be moving as quickly as we possibly can to fix that problem.


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