Page 256 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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over 4½ years. This is what we will have paid by the time the agreements expire—a number of them have not been certified, Mr Mulcahy; many of them have been—in order to redress the situation we were faced with when we came to government. We had staff leaving in droves to go to the commonwealth. We had positions that could not be filled—critical positions, allied health positions, teaching positions—because the opposition, when in government, paid one per cent per annum; one per cent over five years when they were in power. We saw the sham of wage cuts. They oversaw wage cuts. That was their way of dealing with enterprise bargaining. How can we shaft the workers in our workforce and expect more from them?

I should also point out that they used the redundancy provisions quite well themselves. There were lots of redundancies under that government. We are not going to apologise if there are redundancies provisions for the public service. We have tried to lead the way. We hope that the private sector follows. They should—they should look after their workers too; they should make sure that they are looked after if they lose their jobs and are faced with having no money to pay for their commitments. They should have some capacity to meet those costs following a separation from employment, and we do that through redundancy provisions. It is quite appropriate and something that we are not going to change.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Notwithstanding the minister’s advice that I could go to the Internet and look at other redundancy arrangements, with which I am in fact familiar, I ask: in light of the Treasurer’s comments in regard to skill shortages in Canberra, has the minister herself looked at comparisons between the redundancy provisions being provided for under these agreements and those applying in the private sector in Canberra across awards and employers?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I have not looked at redundancy provisions in the private sector. I not sure how that would relate to skill shortages anyway. I do not get the member’s point. Skill shortages exist in a number of areas in the ACT, particularly around areas such as bricklaying, tiling and plastering—three that I can think of immediately. People are choosing carpentry and other areas in the private sector. It is not a matter of people not choosing the private sector in which to work. If you look at our training numbers you will see that we have had a huge increase in the number of trainees and apprentices in the private sector in the past year. In fact, we have increases of 15 per cent in commencements in the private sector.

Mr Smyth: Commonwealth study leave.

MS GALLAGHER: It has not a great deal to do with the commonwealth, although I will give Mr Smyth this: we do work in partnership in training so I am not saying it not about that. A joint effort has managed to deliver big increases in the numbers of young people and older people returning to or changing careers in the private sector.

Again, I cannot see how the redundancy provisions have an impact when we are seeing huge growth in the private sector. It seems to me that people are making choices about where they want to work. We have a very strong, vibrant economy that is supporting that. We have a federal government that is supporting training and we have a state

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