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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3276 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

implementation and implementation at different levels? If you will provide additional resources, what might they be? To wrap it up, in such funding, if you do provide it, is there a commitment fully to cover the cost of the award? What were the principles behind such funding as you provided?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. The member may recall that the Government gave certain agencies the SACS award where that was necessary by legislation and the nature of those agencies. We made it quite plain then that implementing the SACS award across every single area of activity that we supported various non-government agencies in was not necessarily going to happen. We encouraged agencies and offered agencies assistance in how they would best provide services and take into account pressures, such as the SACS award, they were facing.

The Government made it quite plain that the implementation of the SACS award and the payment of salaries in line with the new award structure were the managerial responsibility of non-government organisations. The Government regards the provision of services by those organisations as crucial and has put service purchasing initiatives in place to clarify and strengthen that role. Service purchasing contracts that have recently been finalised with non-government organisations take into account such things as the services that are being provided to our community here in Canberra and the ability of non-government organisations to provide services that are inclusive of the costs of applicable industrial awards.

Since October 1995 boards of management have been strongly encouraged to consider various efficiency measures within their existing funding levels to meet any additional costs associated with the implementation of the award. Things they have done - and I think they have done them pretty successfully - include reviewing staffing and their operational structures, making quite significant attempts to achieve administrative efficiencies, undertaking robust negotiations in staff management and completing a reasonable translation of each position to the appropriate level under the SACS award. That is very important. Some of the agencies readjusted their levels in line with what was happening interstate, in line with what was more appropriate, and that assisted them immensely.

We provided the Chamber of Industry and Commerce with some funding so that they could provide information and provide assistance to non-government organisations to complete the translation process. Additionally, we funded ACTCOSS and also the ACT Youth Coalition to develop and deliver training programs for boards of management and service directors covering areas such as the implementation of the SACS award and, Mr Wood, you might be interested to know, in implementation of the Workplace Relations Act and implementation of service purchasing arrangements.

MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question. We know what efficiency measures mean, do we not? It has become harder and harder. Minister, you might put your department on notice that at estimates time we will ask for the - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order! Ask your supplementary question.

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