TAFE ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS
The Hon. BERYL EVANS: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs and Minister for Employment and Training. Have the enterprise agreements with the New South Wales Teachers Federation, the Public Service Association and TAFE been finalised yet? If so, will the Minister inform the House of the details?
The Hon. VIRGINIA CHADWICK: I most certainly thank the honourable member for her question because today is quite an historic day for New South Wales TAFE, as it is for the union and the federation referred to by the honourable member. A short time ago - in fact at about 2.15 this afternoon - the managing director of TAFE, Dr Gregor Ramsey, together with representatives of the Public Service Association and the New South Wales Teachers Federation, signed an enterprise agreement covering the new positions of institute managers in TAFE, a most significant first for TAFE. This agreement is indicative of the policies being pursued by the Government to engender an enterprise focus in New South Wales public sector and private sector organisations. The negotiations for this agreement have been characterised by extensive negotiation and have not at any time been disrupted by the prospect of industrial disputation. They have been conducted in the most civilised fashion and I truly believe reflect the growing industrial maturity of the parties to the agreement.
The development of the new structures for TAFE institutes has involved extensive consultation with staff, including local union and employee representations. The managing director wrote to all TAFE Commission staff on 30th July this year to inform them of the progress towards establishing ongoing structures for the institutes. He also met with the Teachers Federation and the Public Service Association on 30th July this year. Institute directors consulted widely with staff before finalising their proposed structure and submitting it for evaluation and approval. On 12th August the managing director met with the Public Service Association and the Teachers Federation to discuss the introduction of institute structures and the creation of the new classification of institute manager. At this meeting the unions were provided with a draft, without prejudice enterprise agreement.
Following this the institute directors continued to consult staff on the structures and the institute manager positions for the respective institutes. TAFE officers regularly met with the federation and the Public Service Association to discuss institute structures, procedures for staff positions and the agreement itself. The negotiations were frank and positive. TAFE, the Public Service Association and the federation issued a joint communique to all staff emphasising the consultative approach being adopted in the development of the institute structures and the enterprise agreement - another significant indication of the industrial maturity that surrounded this agreement. The institute structures provide better strategic and long-term planning; move decision-making closer to the point of education delivery; improve industry and community consultation, leading to greater responsiveness; and ensure closer cross-sectional liaison with school education, higher education and other providers. The agreement links working conditions closely to institute operations, thereby improving New South Wales TAFE planning, service and links with industry and the community.
The agreement will give TAFE additional flexibility in responding to the needs of students and the community. The key features are that five levels of institute managers will be established; there is a commitment to a professional development of the managers, the administrative hours and conditions, with a capacity for hours to be worked to suit the needs of the institute; and there will be performance appraisals of institute managers. The freedom to pursue resolution procedures have been designed and agreed to. Procedures have been agreed to for the filling of new positions of managers and for the joint TAFE-unions consultative committee to monitor the introduction and operation of the enterprise agreement. The consultative approach to the development of these structures and the negotiations represent a significant development in employee relations with TAFE. The signing of the enterprise agreement and the negotiations that have led us to this most satisfactory outcome are a credit to those involved. I pay special tribute to the officers of the Teachers Federation and the Public Service Association, the managing director, Dr Ramsey, and particularly to Paul Irving. They have all worked with great honesty, dedication and believe, as I do, that this is a happy outcome for all concerned.