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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2013 ..

MS CARNELL: Actually, Mr Speaker, the way I will answer it is just to quote the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures - again, not my figures, Mr Speaker. In 1994-95 the Labor Government - those opposite, with Mr Wood as Minister - spent $45.70 per person on arts and culture. Mr Speaker, just two years later we have increased that to $66.70, an increase of 45 per cent. These are not our figures, but Bureau of Statistics figures. I think that those opposite should be very embarrassed.

ACTION - Tender for Services

MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Smyth, the Urban Services Minister. Minister, according to ABC radio on the weekend, Mr Trevor Santi of the TWU stated that ACTION bus drivers had reached agreement with the Government pending a withdrawal of expressions of interest for the tendering of ACTION services. Minister, is that the case, and where are negotiations up to at the moment?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. It is quite curious. Not only on Friday but I believe on Sunday and possibly even on Monday Mr Santi did claim that he put options to the Government that they would like to negotiate on. I have checked with Mr Thurston, the head of ACTION, and as yet we have received no firm offers from the TWU at all.

MR RUGENDYKE: I have a quick supplementary question. Minister, are you expecting any such agreement based on those conditions?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, it is quite interesting. I have said right from the start that I would prefer that we settle this through negotiation. Under the previous Minister, Mr Guy Thurston was employed to head up ACTION. After 14 months of negotiations, I believed, and I think Mr Thurston believed, that we actually had a position that we had reached with the TWU. Indeed, Mr Santi, Mr Thurston and I met in my office, and Mr Santi told me that basically we had a deal. That was totally rejected by the TWU several weeks later. I said the other day, when I announced that the Government would be seeking expressions of interest for the tendering out of the management of ACTION, that of course we would negotiate with the TWU. We believe that negotiations should continue, but I am yet to hear from the TWU.

Ms Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.


MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I would like to make a personal explanation pursuant to standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MR BERRY: During her answer to the last question, the Chief Minister mentioned my name in the context of the last Labor Government and arts funding, and in particular in relation to the Playhouse project and the cultural centre.

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