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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2145 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

that is based upon what we want to produce as a government for our taxpayer dollar. In the hospital that obviously is treatment for patients in an accessible manner, in a timely fashion, in all of those sorts of areas.

Mr Berry: We want to produce treated patients, not treatment for patients.

MRS CARNELL: I thought that was what the workers were providing, actually - treatment for patients. What we have to do in terms of an enterprise agreement is look at the actual workplace, that is, the hospital, and provide that service with the most efficient base. That, again, is totally different from what we might want to achieve in our schools or in the Chief Minister's Department. Of course, in our municipal services area, the things that are appropriate for the people who cut our grass or look after our parks, and the traffic inspectors or parking inspectors, could be different, but they may not be. That is the whole purpose of enterprise-based agreements. We are not having 123 different enterprise agreements, Mr Berry. You were wrong. We are looking at workplaces that are the same - for example, the hospital, where the sorts of things we are trying to produce are similar across the board - and looking for enterprise-based agreements for those enterprises. I think that is a particularly important issue.

One of the things you have to understand in this important area is the issue of different workplace cultures. The way that workers approach their workplace in the hospital is totally different from the workplace culture in the Chief Minister's Department or out there in municipal services, or, for that matter, on our buses. We have to have workplace agreements that reflect the culture of that workplace. If we do not do that the approach, the needs and the aspirations of our employees simply will not be met. The sorts of things you need to make a happy, enjoyable and fulfilling workplace in different areas of the ACT Government Service will be, by their very nature, different.

The things that should not be different are issues such as EEO, maternity leave, parental leave and base pay rates. Those sorts of issues must be left in place, to ensure that we have fairness and equity right across the board, and they will be. They are in our current enterprise offer. We have maintained core terms and conditions and base pay in our offer. All of the issues that have been brought up, that some people in the ACT Government Service will somehow be horribly disadvantaged by this approach, simply cannot be, because we are maintaining base pay and core conditions. That is already on the table, right now. Fairness and equity is there.

The other approach that ensures that fairness and equity will be continued is that we have written into our budget 1.3 per cent over 21/2 years; not over three years, over 21/2 years. That means that we have complied with the Federal Government's approach of the flat $8 a week. So the safety net is there. That is the amount that the Federal Government believes is appropriate to ensure that there are no losers. The no losers clause is already in this initial offer. What we are now looking to negotiate with the union movement is on top of that $8 flat. It is what we can do in individual workplaces to top that up. We believe that it should not be too difficult in most workplaces to come up with another 2 per cent. That would create 5.9 per cent over the 21/2 years, and that is in line with the Commonwealth Government's approach.

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