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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (7 August) . .

Page.. 2185..


MR WALL: Minister, will the updated enterprise agreement include any variation to section U3.1 which relates to AMC arrangements and the needle exchange program at the jail?

MR RATTENBURY: That is one of the matters that is still being discussed.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, will you, as per the Labor-Greens agreement, continue with the implementation of a needle exchange program at the jail without the agreement of the union as stipulated in the current enterprise arrangements?

MR RATTENBURY: Both the Minister for Health, Ms Gallagher, and me, as the Minister for Corrections, remain committed, as a matter of policy, to having a needle and syringe program at the AMC.

The public health benefits have been well outlined, and with the recent marking of World Hepatitis Day the issues around bloodborne viruses were given a strong focus. Certainly at the lunchtime event that I spoke at there was strong community support for an ongoing effort to implement a needle and syringe program.

I think everyone in the Assembly is well aware of the position that some of the corrections officers have taken and that the union has taken. That is a matter where I continue to seek to discuss it with them. I think it is important that we do find a working model. I think it is important that we do not negotiate via the media but that we actually seek to find a workable solution. That is the approach that I am taking. I do hope that we will be able to implement this effective public health policy in a timely manner.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why are you forcing ACT employees to work in an unsafe environment against their wishes?

MR RATTENBURY: I am not.

Taxation—payroll

MR SMYTH: My question is for the Treasurer. Treasurer, you have been responding to contractors affected by your payroll tax changes with the following words:

This amendment will provide more certainty to Canberra employment agents and to the contractor community with regard to their payroll tax liabilities.

Treasurer, given that your changes to payroll tax will mean that agencies and contractors who have signed contracts will be faced with bearing the cost of payroll tax withheld, how is this giving Canberra contractors and agencies certainty?


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