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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2161 ..

MR DE DOMENICO: Seeing that I have not seen those slides - - -

Mrs Carnell: He cannot table something that he has not got.

MR DE DOMENICO: I cannot table something that I have not got.

Teachers Dispute

MS McRAE: My question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Education. Can the Minister confirm that the current offer to the Australian Education Union requires a 7 per cent trade-off over the next two years and that that could result in a substantial reduction of teacher numbers?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I am not quite sure what Ms McRae means by a 7 per cent trade-off. There have been a number of offers made to the Australian Education Union and, indeed, a number of countersuggestions made by it. What she may be referring to - and her figures may be wrong there - is a number of options on the board in terms of productivity. The union, certainly, is starting to make some suggestions and is talking in terms of what productivity measures it would agree to being put in place. The Government has, throughout the dispute, made a number of suggestions in relation to productivity. All of those things are on the table. Mr Speaker, I am hopeful now, in this very protracted dispute, which has gone on for nearly six months, that we might finally be starting to get somewhere. The parties are continuing to negotiate in good faith. I was rather disappointed, though, to hear that the union was considering an escalation of the bans.

So, in terms of a 7 per cent trade-off, Ms McRae, I do not think that rings quite true. I do not have the current offer with me; but we are talking more in terms of 3 per cent productivity and efficiency measures and 7.1 per cent fully government funded over a period of time. But a 7 per cent absolute trade-off does not quite ring a bell. I think it is more like the 3 per cent productivity that parties are starting to talk about. Indeed, the union has made a number of other suggestions to us. We are currently, I hope, beginning what might be fruitful negotiations. There is always hope, and I certainly hope that we can get somewhere this time, because it is very important for our students and our parents, who are thoroughly sick of the bans and the effect they are having on schools.

MS McRAE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Thank you, Mr Stefaniak, for that answer; but perhaps you could fill us in on - to get the wording absolutely right - what productivity measure the Government is requesting at this point. I believed that 3 per cent in the first year and 4 per cent in the next was a bit of a trade-off. But let us get back to exactly what you are saying. Could you inform the house exactly what productivity measures the Government is requesting at this point of the negotiations, understanding that that is not the final offer?

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