Page 2615 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013
them as well, and we all understand how those arrangements work. So it is no surprise that those comments were made by a union official. Indeed I would have made them in my time as a union official, had the employer made the same claim.
In my meetings with unions, the Treasurer and I have made it clear that we had prioritised a modest pay increase so that we could defend jobs and keep our job numbers where they are now. We needed to explain to the unions that anything over and above that that was not offset by savings would come at a cost of jobs. The wages component of our budget, as you would know, Mr Hanson, from chairing estimates, is over 50 per cent of our budget. I note Mr Hanson’s claims to give more money to public servants. We could do that. We could give them four per cent or five per cent tomorrow, but the cost of every one per cent is approximately $20 million and we would have to find that money because we have not created room for that over and above the money we have put in the budget for the EBA. So that is what it comes down to. My comments are in line with comments I have made to the unions. We have prioritised jobs, but in terms of settling this, if the unions are not going to be reasonable about the pay outcome then we will have to look at other ways of funding the pay outcome they seek.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Chief Minister, what analysis have you done on how many ACT public service job cuts will be necessary to keep the balance right? How many job losses does that analysis show?
MS GALLAGHER: This is currently a matter for negotiation between parties to the EBA. Yes, we will have an understanding of what each pay outcome costs in terms of financial costs to the budget. We have an understanding of how much is allowed for within our budget and within the forward estimates, and if there is a difference it will have to come from somewhere.
It can come from other savings measures. It can come from productivity gains and there has been some very good progress in discussion with some unions around that. We have no problem with funding pay rises through productivity and there is opportunity for that across the ACT public service.
But if the baseline is going to be more pay, no loss of conditions, no change to work practices and over and above what we have allowed for in the budget, that money will have to be found from somewhere. Each one per cent is $20 million. So that is a pretty straightforward analysis in terms of what we would have to find if it goes over and above what we have allowed.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why are you now demanding that your public servants take a pay cut in real terms and threatening their jobs if they do not accept your offer?
MS GALLAGHER: We are not asking anyone to take a pay cut in real terms. Let’s go back for a moment and have a slight history lesson on what Mr Smyth offered