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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (22 February) . . Page.. 195 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

We have offered to the teachers a $60 a week wage increase - productivity based, certainly. To the bus drivers we have offered 9.7 per cent over 30 months - a very decent wage increase based upon productivity. We have also offered, I think, a very reasonable deal to members of the Australian Workers Union. What we require, or what we would like in return for those offers, is a rank-and-file meeting. I want the workers to determine whether they want pay increases. It certainly seems to me that centralised union power is more important to some people than decent wage increases to the people out there doing it.

MR WHITECROSS: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Given that clearly you have now abandoned your requirement to lift these bans, because you are negotiating with the two unions that have imposed those bans, and given that those two unions still want to participate in a common bargaining position with the Trades and Labour Council, will you now show some good faith, for a change, and negotiate with the chosen negotiators of those two unions, namely, the Trades and Labour Council, and stop this charade of refusing to negotiate with their chosen negotiators when you are willing to negotiate with the two unions who have the bans which you say are the obstacle?

MRS CARNELL: The basis of the offers that we have put in place is totally at odds with what the Trades and Labour Council are willing to negotiate. What we have offered is enterprise-based specific increases for agencies. To say for one moment, as the Trades and Labour Council continue to do, that the sorts of efficiencies that occur for bus drivers can be used for teachers and that those for teachers can be used for nurses, grass cutters and so on is patently ridiculous. We can achieve significant pay increases if they are agency specific. There are some increases that affect everybody in the ACT government service. We have already put those on the table. They were the basis of our initial 4.3 per cent increase. One per cent of that certainly was to do with implementation of the triple R award. About 0.5 per cent was other specific across-the-board improvements that could be made right across the ACT government service. Interestingly, 2 per cent of that offer was the $1m we have saved through the changes in our SES structure. One million dollars has been saved in upper management, top management, and ploughed straight back into pay increases for people at the lower end of the ACT government service. I would have thought that was industrial democracy at its best.

Eco-office Funding

MR KAINE: This is a question from the Assembly's most experienced backbencher to the Government's most experienced Minister, Mr Humphries, the Minister for Planning and the Environment. Minister, I was appalled to hear this morning that the ACT Government is funding the ACT eco-office to the tune of only $4,000. I thought that was a remarkably small sum of money for such an important office. Can you tell the Assembly when the Government is going to do the right thing and fund this office appropriately?

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