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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4123 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

determination. There was no role for the Chief Minister in the standards. There is no role for the Chief Minister in the new determination, except to make submissions to the tribunal, which is something that those opposite can do as well.

Those chief executives and executives employed before April 1998 have contractual entitlements not just to temporary accommodation allowance, but to a range of other entitlements provided for in the standard. I believe that the Territory should honour those entitlements negotiated within the rules as they existed at the time. Breaching those agreements would be not only a breach of contract but also a breach of trust between an employer and an employee. We do reward our executives well. We do not reward them well in comparison with the private sector, but we do reward them well and we do ask a lot of them. We do expect them to work seven days a week regularly and often long into the night. We compete with other governments for them. Good CEOs are simply people that are worth their weight in gold. We simply must be able to maintain these people in the ACT Public Service. That is the approach that we will continue to take. I will continue to comply with the law as it stands and not with what those opposite are asking me to do, that is, break the law.

Mr Berry: I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. On at least two separate occasions, Mrs Carnell has been ordered to withdraw the word "smart-arse". Would you call on her to withdraw it as a result of her comment today?

MS CARNELL: I am happy to withdraw it, Mr Speaker.

MS TUCKER (3.59): I wish to make a very brief contribution to this debate, which has been an interesting debate. Mrs Carnell has been focusing in her arguments on the legality of the payments and the process issues. As someone who is chairing a select committee on public housing in the ACT, I must say that there is an irony in the debate that I would not want to leave unmentioned. As I understand it, the salaries that these people are receiving are between $120,000 and $210,000 or thereabouts. We have heard Mrs Carnell say that their salaries are not as much as they could be earning in the private sector. It has been said in debate in this place before that you have to pay very high salaries to get good people. Obviously, that is arguable as the concept of public service is a very strong motivation for some people in society in terms of the work that they do.

It is of interest to me to compare the amounts of money that are being discussed here with what we have at the same time from Minister Smyth of the same Government, who has set a limit on people wishing to obtain secure, safe public housing and has done so on people who often are in need of this form of housing because it is housing of last resort. It is not housing for people who have many choices in what they do because of the income they receive. It is proposed that a person who receives less than $482 a week - $482 a week is actually the amount of the subsidy for a CEO who has a dependant somewhere else - will get public housing. But anyone who earns $48 a week more than that - 10 per cent more than that - over 18 months will lose the right to that secure housing, which is a fundamental human right. The sum is $766 for two persons. They are going to lose that entitlement if they earn 10 per cent more than that over 18 months.

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