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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3046 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

There are 4,466 now. What we see is an increase of 59 over the year. But let us go back a step. In November 1993 there were 3,522 on the waiting list. So there was an increase of 885, November to November, under Mr Connolly. The year before, from 1992 to 1993, we had an increase, I think, of 1,480 in the November 1992 to November 1993 figures, an increase of 885 in the November 1993 to November 1994 figures, and an increase of 59 between 1994 and 1995.

I think it is really important, Mr Speaker, to realise that, since we came to government in March this year, there has been a decrease in the waiting lists of just about 100. We have seen a decrease of 100. It is not a success story yet. We are not saying that it is. In fact, there is a long hard row to hoe with waiting lists. The reality is that we have done an extra 200 operations. That is 200 people who are not on the waiting lists now and who would have been under the previous Government. I believe, unlike Mr Connolly, that that is a real success.

Education Budget - Salary Increases

MS McRAE: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. Yesterday in the Assembly, in response to a question about whether the education budget contains the money to provide for the 3.9 per cent salary increase promised, in the words of the Industrial Relations Minister, with "no strings attached and no productivity to counter things at all", you assured this house that "that 3.9 per cent was factored into the 206 point whatever million and the 212 point whatever million and the 218 point whatever million over three years". I quote you from Hansard.

Mr Humphries: Those are very precise figures.

MS McRAE: I am quoting from Hansard. How do you then explain your department's advice to the union that the budget must cover all wage increases - that is the department's advice to the union - and then the advice that the Department of Education cannot maintain existing staff payments without offsets?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question, Mr Speaker. I do not think the Opposition is able to grasp what enterprise bargaining is really all about, or what this Government is all about, or what my colleague Mr De Domenico said in relation to ongoing discussions with the union on 2 December. I noted the shock, horror story from Mr Berry on the radio on Monday. He had to backtrack from that very quickly because this Government is talking to the unions. Negotiations are ongoing. Enterprise bargaining, Mr Speaker, is about negotiations between the employer and the unions. Proposals are put on the table for discussion and negotiation. The situation is inevitably fluid, with changes occurring regularly as negotiations proceed, as they are doing now. This will be a continuing process for quite some time to come. As part of this negotiating process, government agencies have put to the Trades and Labour Council a series of proposed service-wide and agency reform measures which the Government wishes to be included in a framework agreement. The unions are presently considering the proposals.

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