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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2168 ..

Mr Berry: How many amendments did you move to the Trading Hours Act when you were in opposition?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Humphries is answering the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: Small business is suffering severely under the current system of deregulated trading hours, and the executive director of the association supports the move that the Government is taking. Mr Speaker, another source of support for the Government stand is an unlikely one, the Conservation Council of the South-East Region and Canberra, a group not known to support the Liberal Party as a rule. Mr Darlington, of the council, said yesterday that there were strong environmental and social reasons for the council to support any moves to retain the viability and services provided in local shopping centres.

Mr Speaker, there is clearly a mounting wave of reaction from people in this community concerned about this fact and concerned that those opposite, the Labor Party in particular, are prepared to buckle under to the interests of large corporate interests interstate. It seems that the light on the hill has moved; it is now the light in the window that you see on the twenty-fifth floor of those office towers in Sydney and Melbourne where the boardrooms are. The light coming out of the window is a far cry from the light on the hill that Ben Chifley described, and, Mr Speaker, it is a very sad indictment of the once great Labor Party. It is no wonder that they are in opposition in eight out of nine jurisdictions in this country today.

Teachers Dispute

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Stefaniak, Minister for Education, and it relates to the industrial dispute over teachers salaries. I want to focus on pupil-free days, a fact well known I think to people in this Assembly, when teachers are on duty and obviously are paid for it but the students are not at school. Pupil-free days are part of the current demand offer from the Government. They must trade off these pupil-free days as part of their salary package. This is what I want explained. I do not want you telling me about pupil-free days. What I want you to tell me, Mr Stefaniak, is how this is going to save money to the Education Department. What savings are there?

MR STEFANIAK: I am amazed at Mr Wood's question. It seems there are, in fact, some considerable savings in relation to that, Mr Wood. For starters, if we did not have any pupil-free days and, especially in conjunction with that, if members of the teaching profession did development courses during personal stand-down time, that would tend to free up a considerable amount of relief teaching, and there are savings there. I cannot remember what the percentage is, but a number of percentages have been put on that. Also, that is probably one of the main points in terms of the current enterprise bargaining round. It is now one of the issues that the union is talking about.

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