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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1169 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

I am sure that members of this place would accept that the Commonwealth Bank is one of the major financial institutions in this country. It is interesting that the Commonwealth Bank believes that the Bruce Stadium redevelopment is a great proposal, a great investment.

Mr Kaine: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Does the Chief Minister intend to fully answer my question and take it on notice or not?

MR SPEAKER: I think she is taking the balance on notice. That is what I understood. Is that correct, Chief Minister?

Ms Carnell: It is not a point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: No, it is not a point of order; a point of clarification perhaps. I understood she was taking it on notice.

ACT Fire Brigade

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety. The United Firefighters Union has begun industrial action because the Government will not meet its request for a pay rise. The Minister has been in the media in the last few days blaming the union for the breakdown in talks. In fact it is management who keep cancelling the meetings.

Mr Corbell: Really?

MR HARGREAVES: Indeed. The last three were cancelled by management.

Mr Corbell: You mean Gary was not completely forthright in his - - -

MR HARGREAVES: Correct. Perhaps misunderstood. It is my understanding, Mr Speaker, that there are currently 19 unfilled and now unfunded positions within the ACT Fire Brigade. My question to the Minister is this: Where did the budget disappear to for these positions? Will the Minister agree that because these positions remain unfilled, and now unfunded, the Fire Brigade in effect has increased its productivity by providing the same service with fewer staff?

MR HUMPHRIES: This is a somewhat strange question. Am I aware of there being 19 unfilled or unfunded positions? Well, if they are not filled it does not necessarily follow that they are unfunded. The budget is there to provide for them. If the positions were abolished they obviously would be unfunded, but they have not been abolished, to my knowledge, so they are not unfunded in that sense.

Do I agree that that makes the brigade more productive because it is doing the same job with some positions unfilled? There are always some positions in any service as large as that which are unfilled, because people resign, or retire, or for various reasons do not continue in their positions. A certain amount of slack is built into the organisation to

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