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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 561 ..

Public Sector Wage Negotiations

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Chief Minister and is about public sector wage negotiations. Chief Minister, when negotiating enterprise bargaining agreements with the ACT public sector work force back in 1995, the Government's first offer was put on the table on or about 22 August that year, effectively allowing four months for the Government to complete its negotiations before the agreements that were already in place expired. As you would be aware, Mrs Carnell, instead of taking four months to complete, those negotiations took around seven-and-a-half months. The ensuing industrial dispute, according to your own estimate in 1996, cost the Canberra community over $5m. Given that the current EBA runs out in just three months' time, when do you intend opening negotiations with the relevant parties? Do you intend negotiating with the union movement as a whole via the TLC or, as last time, with each individual union?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, significant negotiations have taken place already with regard to the enterprise bargains. Before the election I made it very clear that this Government was committed to agency specific enterprise bargaining, and we will be maintaining our commitment to that approach. I think it is only sensible, knowing the diversity of the ACT Government and the services that we provide, that we ensure that the enterprise bargains or agency agreements that are made are specific for that particular workplace.

There are 20 enterprise agreements in place covering the ACT Public Service. Fourteen of those are due to expire at the end of September 1998 - so, not all of them by any stretch, but certainly some of them. Most agreements contain a requirement that the negotiations for a replacement agreement should commence about six months, I understand, before the expiry date. I know that those negotiations are well under way, as are the negotiations for award simplification. The negotiations will happen at agency level. We have set up an advisory group in the Chief Minister's Department to aid the Government in this sort of area. I have to say that some people on it are not traditional members of the Liberal Party, and they certainly have a good knowledge of the labour movement, Mr Speaker. The negotiations are certainly under way. My understanding is that they are progressing quite well at agency level.

Rural Residential Development

MR WOOD: My question is to Mr Humphries and it concerns the proposed Kinlyside development. I ask him to pay careful attention to the dates that I indicate. Last week, on 20 May, in response to a question you said this:

As it transpired - and this information became clear, at least to the Government, only very recently; that is, in the last seven days - the three blocks which supposedly were brought to the table by Mr Whitcombe in this arrangement were, in fact, at best, only one block; that is, what is now block 630.

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