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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2717 ..

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Berry, I suggest that you might have a look at a bursar's duty statement, especially, I think, paragraph 1(b). Have a look at the statement and you will see quite clearly a reference to this. I suggest that you also look at section 187AA of the Act which actually says the department must act. When we put those two together, I am quite satisfied the department acted quite properly and according to law. Indeed, in this instance it did not have too much discretion in the matter, so I suggest you have a look at those two things, Mr Berry.

Mr Berry: Rubbish. Why have your ministerial colleagues - - -

Mr Moore: You want him to break the law?

MR STEFANIAK: Do you want me to break the law? Do you want my department to break the law? I am quite happy, Mr Berry, to have a look at - - -

Mr Berry: I will answer that question in a moment.

MR STEFANIAK: I am quite happy to look at what my department does in this instance. I check that out, Mr Berry. I can read Acts as well as anyone else. I used to do that for a living. Section 187AA is very clear indeed. I am quite satisfied that what the department did is quite appropriate. They acted in accordance with the law. In my view, and no-one has done anything to convince me otherwise to date, if they had not done that they would have breached the law.

I recall, Mr Berry, that this very issue was listed for debate in the commission at some stage. It was on a Monday morning some weeks ago. I understand that the CPSU, who listed that particular issue, pulled it. I can only assume that that occurred because they were not terribly confident of the point they were pushing. So, until such time as anyone can categorically point out to me that my department was not acting correctly, I am going to back them on that one. Might I also say, Mr Berry, that a lot of progress has been made on this issue. I think the department has put about four positions on the table and we are currently going through the process of looking at work value, a process which has been agreed upon by the department, the bursars and the CPSU.

MR BERRY: Minister, perhaps you did not hear this part of the question. Why is it that bursars are receiving harsher treatment from you than they are from your ministerial colleagues? Is it not just the case, Minister, that they have been singled out because they are few in number, industrially isolated, all female, part-time workers and are just easy targets?

MR STEFANIAK: A simple "no" to all of those questions, Mr Berry. Our bursars are highly regarded people. I have met with them. They do a very good job in the school system. Even under their current award structure they are quite well renumerated. I think they are paid more than everywhere else, except for one top category of Victorian bursars who get, I think, about 15c an hour more, and they look after multi-campus schools. Our bursars are on a little under $24 an hour, compared with a little less - - -

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