Page 1375 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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ACT community, particularly to the young people and also, through them, to the business prospects and the prospects for prosperity in this community. Three point one million dollars to meet increased demand sounds like a very important thing; we must be doing something well. But we have to hedge that a bit with some concerns. While we are increasing money for training and apprenticeships, we have axed the Auslan signing course at the CIT. There is also the ongoing failure of all the Labor states to sign up to the commonwealth/state training agreement which, as a result, has cost this budget, the budget of the ACT, $4 million over the life of the agreement. Here we are appropriating money that we could have found from another source.

There is a lot more to an appropriation bill than can be adequately covered in a short time. These are two important issues amongst the many that have been raised in the discussion on this bill.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.33): I am here as minister responsible for a fairly large slice of the money coming through this appropriation bill. There is $1.5 million for the asbestos task force, additional money, $8.7 million, for child protection, around $4 million for education and, of course, some of the money that was allocated for wage increases.

I have to respond to a couple of comments of Mr Mulcahy, because I do not think he has been entirely honest about the wage increases. When I did appear before the committee, we did have a discussion around productivity savings and smarter work strategies, and I did point out that we have reduced the number of agreements from 59 to 22 and we have reduced the amount of staff tied up in enterprise bargaining, which has already delivered a smarter way of working. Mr Mulcahy has to be a little honest about what he talks about here. Mr Mulcahy thinks public servants get too much money; that is the point he tries to make—

Mrs Dunne: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. On two occasions here, Ms Gallagher has said that—

MR SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

Mrs Dunne: I would seek your ruling, Mr Speaker, as to whether saying someone needs to be a little honest is, in fact, implying that they were a little dishonest—and, if that is the case, could the minister withdraw it?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, there is an imputation there. Just withdraw that.

MS GALLAGHER: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker. But the issue here is that Mr Mulcahy believes that public servants get paid too much. He believes that nurses earning around $38,000 get paid too much, that teachers earning around $50,000 get paid too much.

Mr Mulcahy: When did I say that?

MS GALLAGHER: That is the point that is being made by his continual allegations that we have been too generous in pay increases to public sector workers. That was the

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