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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2912 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

The second meeting with the unions, which the Government initiated, was on 13 October, two days after. The Government's written response to the unions' proposal was on 18 October, a week after; not six weeks. The third meeting with the unions was on 27 October. The Government's written response, outlining the Government's proposals, as requested by the unions, was on 2 November. The fourth meeting with the unions was on 3 November. The unions then provided their draft version of the agreement on 16 November. The fifth meeting with the unions was on 17 November. The union letters outlining the basis for continuing discussions relating to agency reform agendas were dated 24 November.

The unions then notified the commencing of a bargaining period. A separate letter announcing their intention, the unions' intention, to resort to section 170 of the Industrial Relations Act was dated 24 November. There was a letter to the TLC advising the agency reforms agenda was being finalised on 27 November. Finally, the Government provided the agency reforms agenda to the unions on 29 November. The unions considered the agenda on 5 December.

The Government then offered the one per cent rise. That was announced on 5 December. The one per cent offer was made very clearly on the enterprise bargaining approach, but with no strings attached in terms of productivity. "Up front, you do not have to give us anything back in terms of productivity", was what we said. Mr Berry, if you misconstrued what I said, I apologise. But the Government said, "Up front; no productivity returns; you can have one per cent before Christmas". There was a meeting with the unions to clarify the agenda on 7 December. There was a meeting with the unions' representatives last Sunday, and then there was the meeting held yesterday between the Chief Minister and me and the TLC. There are meetings going on today.

As you can see, the Government has been fully involved in promoting a conclusion of the enterprise bargaining agreement. We have been, and will continue to be, committed to the proper negotiating process. It is a negotiating process that we inherited from the previous Government. Because of the fact that it was a good process, we believe, we will continue on a proper negotiating basis. It is worth reminding the Assembly that the previous Government took nearly 18 months to negotiate an enterprise bargaining agreement which yielded no productivity benefits whatsoever.

Let us look at the present status of the negotiations. Following the negotiations between the Government and the Trades and Labour Council over the weekend, all threats of protected action have been removed. The unions have been provided with reform agendas from each government agency, and negotiations aimed at reaching a framework agreement before Christmas are well advanced. The Government expects these negotiations to occur in a climate free from threats of industrial disputation. Well done, Government. A No. 1 result. I do not hear Mr Berry saying that. It took his Government 18 months. Well done, Government. He should be saying that. He should be shouting it from the hilltops. This Government has a very good record in industrial relations, but he will not say that.

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