Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 28 August 2008) . . Page.. 3923 ..
of the GDE is a Liberal Party costing. And it is a Liberal Party costing from that infamous budget, the last Liberal budget, that was concocted and constructed to contrive a surplus—the last Humphries-Smyth budget.
We know that most particularly in relation, of course, to the funding that was provided in the outyears in that last Liberal budget for public service EBAs or pay rises. We know that, most notoriously, in the lead-up to that last Liberal Party budget before the election, they had negotiated or were in the process of trying to negotiate a pay outcome for nurses. They were at the point where they had offered, over three years, in excess of 14 per cent. This is what they were negotiating. They were negotiating with the nurses. They had offered, I think, 14.4 per cent. They could not reach agreement before the election. It was left to me and my government to resolve that particular dispute about pay.
As we negotiated, we thought, “The Liberal Party had negotiated up to 14.4 per cent.” As we looked at our capacity and the capacity of the budget to fund this—
Mr Pratt: On a point of order: relevance, please, Mr Speaker. This is about the GDE, not about public servants’ pay packets.
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Burke asked a question about matters being on time and on budget and I think the Chief Minister is now explaining the budget.
MR STANHOPE: It is the stark example within that budget. But there are two examples. The starkest was the nurses pay claim negotiations. I forget the exact number but I know it was over 14 per cent over three years.
We then came to government, in the context of those negotiations not completed, and recognised that it would be a first-order issue for a new government to deal with and resolve. So we went to Treasury and said, “We want to settle this pay dispute. The government offered 14.4 per cent, which has not been accepted. What is the budget capacity?” They said, with some blushing and hesitation, “You need to understand that this was not a funded position. This position was not funded.” We said, “What do you mean it was not funded?” They said, “There was some funding. Mr Humphries, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak had provided one per cent a year in the outyears.”
Mr Gentleman: For the nurses?
MR STANHOPE: No, for the whole public service, for the whole of the ACT public sector. We inherited, on coming to government last time, a forward budget year allocation of one per cent a year for pay. It is just disgraceful. They had to do it because, if they had not done that, they would have fallen straight into deficit. And they did not want to go to an election with a deficit budget. They were negotiating with the nurses, offering five per cent a year or thereabouts, in the knowledge that it was a pay claim they would not ever have to meet or pay for, because I think they knew or saw the writing on the wall and left it to us.
One then has to go back to some of the other allocations or provisions that were made by the Liberal Party in that particular budget. Just take that as your prime example.