Page 1515 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 May 2015

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MS BURCH: I am on record as being supportive of the offer of back pay. What the AEU, through Glenn Fowler, needs to do is come to the bargaining table and formally seek for it to be included in the offer.

Mr Hanson interjecting—


MS BURCH: We have an offer on the table, for teachers, of over 12 per cent over three years. I think in the current environment that is a sound and good offer. We have also reduced the red tape workload for teachers in this offer.

This offer, at the end of the agreement, will see over 50 per cent of the teaching workforce earning $100,000. At the end, it will see graduates come in earning a wage of close to $70,000—over $65,000 for graduate teachers. I think this is a solid offer.

One of the points that the AEU is seeking to continue with is to reduce face-to-face teaching hours in a classroom. I am sympathetic to the teachers’ workload. I want to reduce their workload, but I do not think taking teachers out of the classroom is the answer. I think the answer is to reduce their non-core teaching activity that has been, over time, incrementally crowding their day. That is what is on offer.

I am on record as being supportive of back pay. It is up to Glenn Fowler to formally come and seek for it to be reinstated. He knows that. I have told him that.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, is it true that you blindsided teachers by not including this back pay offer?

MS BURCH: No, there is no blindsiding of teachers at all. The back pay was part of the first offer. The AEU took it to council. Council did not take it to its members, as I understand. So council, on first sight of the first offer, rejected it. Time lapsed; back pay was taken off because it was attached to the first offer. The chief negotiator at the bargaining table, Glenn Fowler, has known that, by default, back pay has not been included. This is a known statement of fact. In a conversation with Glenn Fowler in April, I said to him that if he is seeking for that to be reinstated, he needs to formally do that, and I will be supportive of that request.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, will back pay be put back on the table for future negotiations?

MS BURCH: What is quite remarkable—I think it has been mentioned before—is that they come with set questions, they do not listen to the answers and they still go on with the set questions. On the question of back pay, I am on record as saying I am supportive of back pay. What needs to happen is for the AEU, around the bargaining table, to seek to have that reinstated. I am supportive of that approach, and I wait with interest for Mr Fowler to do that.

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