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Education - Budget Provision

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and it is about the Government's proposed framework for enterprise bargaining. Chief Minister, is it true that in a document entitled “ACT Government's Proposed Framework for Enterprise Bargaining” - a without prejudice proposal of 22 August 1995 - you have proposed a 1.3 per cent budget-supplemented pay increase for each financial year covered by the framework agreement over three years, meaning an overall budget-funded increase of 3.9 per cent over the life of the proposed 2½-year framework agreement, which would apply across the board?

MRS CARNELL: That was to apply across the board to all employees. Where it does not apply in terms of budget supplementation is in the area of education. Education was not treated in the same way as everybody else right from the beginning. Education was not required to find any savings whatsoever in this budget process because we had already committed our bottom line during our election campaign when we said that education funding would remain in real terms. To quote from our policy, this will mean an increase of approximately $7m. That was actually $7.7m, which also was supplemented by an extra $2m for enrolment adjustment, which meant $9.7m, not just this year, but over the next two years as well, when the full CPI increases will be added to the education budget.

MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, what you are saying is that you are going to protect every other department, every other worker across the board, in terms of budget-funded increases. However, in the case of education, you are effectively going to wield a $6.9m cut.

Ms Follett: That is real money.

MR MOORE: The real money. That is the effect of what you have just said. That $6.9m cut will mean cuts in central office staffing, by about 10 per cent; school maintenance by about $1m; the privatisation of Birrigai; work experience support cut out of schools; curriculum support axed in eight key learning areas and Aboriginal studies. This is the effect of what you are saying, is it not?

MRS CARNELL: No, it is not the effect of what we are doing. Certainly, there already are plans in place for savings in central office and in other administration in Education, as there should be. The difference in Education is that they have been asked to find no savings whatsoever, unlike every other department. What we have done is exactly what we said we would do; that is, real terms, in line with the CPI, each year over three years, with adjustment for enrolments.

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