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Thursday, 7 May 1970

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   ls it a fact that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission sat for about 80 days hearing evidence in the Professional Engineers 1968-1969 case.

(2)   Did the hearing become necessary because of the refusal of the Commonwealth Public Service Board to negotiate on the matter.

(3)   If so. did the Government approve of the Board's attitude, and why did the Board unilaterally announce new salary levels a short time before the Commission handed down its award.

Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission was engaged for a total of 76 days on hearings and inspections in the Professional Engineers Case.

(2)   No. The associations sought increases of the order of 45% and in light of many discussions held by the Public Service Board with them, h was clear they were convinced they could achieve increases at least close to the level of their claims.

The Public Service Board could not accept that such increases were justified. Thus, in the Board's view, no basis for further negotiations existed.

(3)   The Public Service Board is an independent statutory body. In its announcement of 26th September as to increased salaries for engineers, the Public Service Board said that it had 'given full and proper weight to all of the factors relevant to the fixation of pay rates, including the totality of the evidence and submissions before die Reference Bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission hearing claims re salaries of engineers and, additionally, the representations and material submitted to the Board by the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia; the Professional Officers' Association and the Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia.'

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