Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 4 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 918..
Clause 1 agreed to.
MR WHITECROSS (9.58): Mr Speaker, I move:
Page 1, line 9, subclause (2), omit "1 July 1995", substitute "1 July 1996".
The purpose of this amendment is to change the start date for the new corporatised ACTEW from 1 July 1995 to 1 July 1996. Mr Speaker, seeing that the numbers are here in the Assembly to proceed with this now, notwithstanding the Labor Party's concerns about it, we believe that the passing of this legislation creates the certainty that ACTEW needs to prepare itself for a corporatised life in the future; but we are concerned that there should be a settling in time before that corporatisation should begin. The views of the Trades and Labour Council, of which much has been made by Mr De Domenico and by Mr Osborne, are perfectly consistent with our amendment, Mr Speaker, because the line from the TLC's letter which Mr De Domenico keeps forgetting to read is the line which says that they do not think that corporatisation should happen now. The effect of our amendment is to provide that breathing space during which unions could engage, with the TLC, in an enterprise bargaining process, and during which Mr Moore's committee, if Mr Moore decides to go ahead with it, could sort out any problems that we did not spot in the less than three weeks we have had to look at this legislation. It would give us a chance to set a few things straight before the new corporatised ACTEW begins. That is the basic purpose of this amendment.
Some debate could be had about whether it should be 1 July 1996 or 1 January 1996. We are pretty flexible on that. I picked 1 July 1996 because the management of ACTEW have made much of the fact that changing form in the middle of a financial year is an extremely expensive exercise. In order to save them this expense, I picked 1 July 1996; but we would be happy, if the unions are satisfied that concerns about terms and conditions of employment which they want clarified before ACTEW becomes a corporate entity are sorted out before 1 July 1996, to whip a quick amendment through the parliament some time down the track, to bring the date of corporatisation forward to 1 January 1996 or whenever. We are not wedded to that date. But that is always assuming, Mr Speaker, that ACTEW do not think it will be too expensive for them to change the date down the track.
We think that this provides the best of both worlds, Mr Speaker - the best of the Government's world from the point of view of having their corporatisation through and ACTEW management having a clear idea where they are going, but also providing that period during which the unions and others can work through the fine details of this change and make sure that all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed before the start date. We think that that is much better than starting on 1 July 1995 and putting