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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4670..


MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 47, I seek leave to make an explanation.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, the actuarial report I quoted from, which came with a covering letter signed by Peter Gerrard of John Ford and Associates on 28 August 1996, is my draft report. So, I accept what Mr De Domenico said. However, the words that I quoted finished as a paragraph. I note that, in his version, the next paragraph is joined on. That does not change my view; but I want to emphasise that it is not my policy to quote out of context. I am quite deliberate about not doing it. I accept that Mr De Domenico has a later version. It would probably be very helpful if he were to table that anyway, for the general benefit of members, so that we can go back through it. I must say, Mr Speaker, that what Mr De Domenico said has not changed my mind about the general perceptions of what, in my draft report, are sections 61, 62 and 63, which fit under the overall heading of "Impact of a possible increase in benefits".

MS TUCKER (11.15): Mr Speaker, nationally, it is recognised that the building and construction industry has particular features - the peaks and troughs of work. What Mr Berry is proposing is to bring the long service leave entitlements of this industry in line with not only the public sector but also South Australia. The Greens believe this is reasonable. I hear the arguments that we do not have the ability to look at benchmarking in a way that is going up instead of down. I hear "benchmarking" being used often in this place, but it is always about going down. The Greens believe that in this case, especially, it is better that we go up, because there are some basic principles in this discussion which are very broad and which are actually related to the whole government philosophy Australia-wide at the moment, with the industrial relations discussions and Federal legislation.

Mr De Domenico talks about EBAs and not always being opposed to them. However, we have said before in this place that there are real concerns about the results of the EBAs as they are moving now. The question of productivity is one that we do have to continually address. It is not always easy to work out how productivity can be analysed. Questions like the one that we are dealing with today are about lowering standards for workers. That is the fear from the current industrial relations trends in this country. That is why we have looked very carefully at Mr Berry's Bill. It is not, of course, just the construction industry; the whole nature of work in all industries in this country is changing, and conditions are being stripped away. The way that employment conditions are changing in this country, there is less security; we have contract employment. I think the particular features of the building and construction industry used to be specific to that industry, but I can see how those conditions are spreading through to a lot of other industries now with outsourcing, contracting out, small government and so on. I believe it is essential that we look at issues such as this in the broader picture as well.


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