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Thursday, 11 June 1970

Mr SNEDDEN - Of course the engineering profession is vital to the development of this country. There are in the community a wide range of professions, of contributing workers, skilled and unskilled, of management and technologists. The whole range of them is vital. I am not to be heard to say that any particular section of them is more important than the other, for everybody contributes according to his capacity and training. The overall problem is to lift the capacity of each individual through training and through encouragement. As to the major thrust of the question - that is, a suggestion implicit in it that the Government or 1 can intrude in the matter and force a higher rate of pay - there is no authority whatever for me or the Government to do so. As far as the employees in the Public Service are concerned, it is a matter for the Public Service Board as a statutory body, and I have never heard the Opposition suggest it should not continue. In regard to employees in the private sector, it is for the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission after negotiation with their own employers. A case went before the Commission, was argued over a period of time and a decision was given. My constant reply to the Association has been that it must seek improvement in the conditions for its members through the normal processes. I understand that the Association of Professional Engineers has lodged claims with the Public Service Board for increases and that dates have been fixed by the Public Service Board and the officers of the Association for further consideration of the claim by the two bodies.

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