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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1691 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Again, that is a breach of the very clear commitment that the current enterprise agreement requires union acquiescence. The Government were going to put that exact same clause in the new agreements. What the Chief Minister does not mention in the scheme of things is their attempts to break the service down to as many different agreements as possible to make it difficult for the unions to manage. Therefore, in those circumstances, employees are in a weaker position when it comes to the bargaining process. If you have a few employees over here who might be concerned about their position in the scheme of things, they are much easier to exploit than are those who are collectively bargaining with the assistance of a union.

There is no doubt that, given the very clear breach of the election promise, a lot of public servants are concerned about their jobs and would be concerned about the impressive nature of the Government. They have seen some of their activities and broken promises in the past, but let us not forget that this is a government that said, "The pain is over. It will not happen anymore. It is finished". We discover that 270 jobs are going to disappear from the Public Service, from a couple of agencies - Health and Education - and the Chief Minister has refused point blank to make it clear what the job situation is in other departments. She claimed that because it was an outputs budget she did not have a clue and that it was up to the agencies. Nice flick pass, Chief Minister. Any officer in your department worth his or her salt would be able to work out the likely impact on jobs, given the funding arrangements in place in the various departments. It was disingenuous of you to try to secret that sort of information.

The most embarrassing thing for the Government was the fact that, notwithstanding the claims they could not tell us, at the end of the day all of a sudden a couple of departments popped up with this sort of information. This was the sort of information that they were not supposed to be able to provide because it was outputs-based budgeting and it was really up to the agencies. Yet some agencies could provide the information despite the protestations from the Chief Minister to the contrary. Well, I ask you!

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (6.32): On the basis that almost every issue that has been raised has been debated before, I will not go over ground that we have gone over ad infinitum previously. A few issues need to be raised. One is the issue of transparency in the budget. I do not know how often we have to point to the page number and the parts of the budget that allow comparability between this budget and last year's budget. In this budget we put in the extra column that everybody wanted last year. Remember the debate about the extra column. That extra column is in there, so give a tick to that one.

We also assisted comparability via Appendix C of Budget Paper No. 3, which provides a summary of all the function transfers. A point has been made in the past about what happens when you transfer functions. All of that is in the budget. As a further aid, Appendix A to Budget Paper No. 4 provides estimated financial outcomes for discontinued agencies, another point that has been made in the past. The preface to Budget Paper No. 4 provides a map relating 1998-99 outputs to their 1997-98 origins. The list goes on.

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