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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 71 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, these agreements are divisive, they do not lead to uniform arrangements for pay that recognise the level of work that is actually done and can lead to situations where one person is doing a particular job and is getting paid at a certain level and the person in the next office can be doing exactly the same job, working exactly the same hours, and getting paid either 20 per cent more or 20 per cent less, or whatever else you want to choose.

It is an unfair and divisive arrangement which we will seek to reform. It needs to be reformed so that people are paid on the basis of the work they do. That is the requirement, and that is the objective to which we are working.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my supplementary question is to Mr Corbell. Under the system that you would seek to implement in terms of staff within this place, how much control will MLAs have over the salary paid to their staff and over their terms and conditions? What input will MLAs have?

MR CORBELL: These are levels of detail, Mr Speaker, that the government has not yet considered. Mr Pratt would be aware that there are a range of issues that need to be addressed in the development of a wages and industrial relations policy for the territory because, quite frankly, the previous government didn't have one. That is the reality. No wages policy, no industrial relations policy, no policy for ensuring that we have a uniform arrangement for bargaining, no policy to deal with wages in the ACT-nothing like that!

There is work that needs to be done in that context. But I can assure Mr Pratt that, where appropriate, members will be engaged in a process of how the new framework will be brought into effect. I will be responsible for developing the whole-of-government framework. Individual ministers will then be responsible for its implementation within individual portfolios. The Chief Minister, of course, is responsible for the act that governs the employment of members staff and he will need to be doing the work in implementing the policy framework as it relates to the Assembly.

Gungahlin Drive extension

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Planning Minister, Mr Corbell. Mr Corbell, on ABC radio this morning you were quoted as stating that the government would undertake an environmental impact study and a detailed cost analysis of the government's preferred western alignment for the Gungahlin Drive extension. What will be the impact of these studies on the completion time of this road, given that you undertook during the election campaign that you would keep to the former Liberal government's timetable to have the road completed by October 2004?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I thank Mrs Cross for her question. This is an important issue. It is an issue which was of strong interest during the election campaign and, clearly, of interest to residents of Gungahlin.

The government's commitment was to seek to ensure that the western alignment was built on time and in accordance with the previous government's capital works program. That is still the timetable that we are working towards.

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