Page 255 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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information of the Canberra community, after that. As I say, this is a fantastic project, causing great excitement. I believe that, in time to come—perhaps having regard to the rate at which gardens and arboreta are developed—it will, in turn, be an iconic feature of Canberra and the Canberra scene.

Redundancy payments

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. Will the minister please confirm that certified agreements were recently concluded in relation to individuals employed by the ACT Public Service and that such agreements contained provisions allowing redundancy payments of up to 26 weeks? Can the minister advise, first, the minimum qualifying periods for such employees to avail themselves of redundancy provisions; and, secondly, details of any private sector industrial award or agreements existing in any part of Australia wherein such generous redundancy provisions might apply?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the member for the question. Redundancy provisions have been in the public sector—both public sectors around the country and the commonwealth public sector—for quite some time. They are longstanding provisions. The content of private sector certified agreements is outside of my area of responsibility and something that you can check up yourself on the Internet. It is not something that I will be spending my time looking at.

We have a responsibility here to make sure that our public servants are well looked after, well remunerated. The redundancy provision—

Mrs Burke: Oh, keep at arms length.

Mr Smyth: Is she the Minister for Industrial Relations or for government employment?


MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, if I could just answer the question. I know Mrs Burke hates listening to me—she hates it—but I would appreciate it if she could just sit there and keep her mouth shut while I answer the question.

As Mr Mulcahy has said, standard redundancy provisions have been around for some time. Although there have been no improvements in those conditions, there have been no reductions. This government has taken the view that we want the best conditions possible for our public service. We compete with the commonwealth and we have to be mindful of that. We believe that, as employees who dedicate their work to delivering services to the public, they deserve appropriate conditions in their certified agreement.

Conditions in certified agreements cover a whole range of areas from leave to redundancy, to pay, to responsibilities in the workplace, to family conditions. They cover a whole ambit. We have put a lot of effort into making sure that those certified agreements are the best that we can offer, within the constrains of our finances.

I am very proud of the fact that we have delivered wage outcomes that are now at reasonable levels—I would not say that they are overly generous—to around 24 per cent

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