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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4561 ..



Question No. 341

Disability Services - Industrial Relations Consultant

Mr Berry - asked the Minister for Health and Community Care upon notice on 20 November 1996

In relation to ACT Community Care's recent employment of a consultant from Philips Fox Solicitors to act in negotiations between the Health Services Union of Australia and ACT Community Care Disability Program on a new classification structure -

(1) What is the cost of contracting Phillips Fox Solicitors as consultants.

(2) Are any other consultants being used for Disability Programs negotiations, if so what is the cost of contracting them.

(3) Why does ACT Community Care Disability Program see the need to use an Industrial Relations consultant when there are existing industrial relations specialists within ACT Community Care, in particular, in light of the need to rein in expenditure by $560,000.

Mrs Carnell - the answer to the Member's question is:

(1) The fee payable to Phillips Fox Solicitors to act in the matter of negotiation and implementation of a new award/agreement and a purpose-built classification structure for disability support workers in the Disability Program is $30 000. Hourly rates are not being charged.

(2) No other consultants are currently being used for Disability Program negotiations.

(3) A consultant has been engaged because of the complexity of this particular situation and in order to ensure that negotiations are consistent with standards and directions across the human services industry.

The industrial relations specialists within the Department of Health and Community Care have neither the very specific expertise required in this situation nor the time to carry out this intensive work.

Professional consultants with extensive experience have been employed because it would be false economy to cut costs in a situation which has such important and far-reaching effects for the Disability Program and the people who use the Program services.

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