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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3151 ..

MR BERRY: Will the Minister confirm that the Government has made an offer to bursars for an increase in classification to full-time ASO 4 and ASO 5 levels from part-time ASO 3, among other conditions, in settlement of the long-running industrial dispute in our schools?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. I saw a report on the TV last night, Mr Berry, which seemed to indicate that the matter was resolved. My understanding is that, whilst an immense amount of progress has been made, there are still a couple of loose ends to be tied up. I got that advice this morning, Mr Berry. My understanding is that there are still a couple of issues that are being resolved. Certainly, considerable progress has been made over the last six weeks or so. A very good process was set in train after a number of negotiations which enabled some members of the department to look at the various categories of bursars in large schools, small schools and medium schools and do a good work value study. That was as a result of something I think the department was keen to see happen.

Mr Berry: Have they been made this offer?

MR STEFANIAK: I understand, Mr Berry, that they have to dot the i's and cross the t's. The agreement has not been signed but I understand that that is very close. I am not too sure what caused that report last night, but when I checked to see the validity of that I think there are a couple of things that still need to occur. I think everyone is very satisfied with the progress and I would expect that we would be able to have an announcement made soon in relation to that particular matter.

MR BERRY: I have a supplementary question. By the way, yesterday I asked for some figures and I have not got them yet. I am not going to give up until I get them.

Mr Stefaniak: You will get them, mate. No problem.

MR BERRY: Does this demonstrate that the Government's vindictive attack on bursars in our schools was a completely unwarranted singling out of hardworking employees? Minister, now that you have agreed that there are improved conditions for bursars, will you pay the money you unjustifiably took off them when you singled them out for special treatment?

MR STEFANIAK: I think what the member is talking about is absolute nonsense. We have been through this before. The department, I am satisfied, has acted quite properly in accordance with the Act. During this dispute, and certainly when a lot was happening in the last three months, the department made a number of offers which were rejected. I understand that some sensible negotiations started taking place when the commission itself put a little bit of pressure on in relation to the CPSU. Then we started getting somewhere.

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