Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (23 October) . .
sporting events or other family occasions are celebrated, he has to sacrifice this time in order to secure a living range.
This is Goran and Maria's story: they are cleaners. They have only known cleaning work since they first migrated to Australia from Macedonia. They would have liked to have found better jobs, but their limited English left them with few choices. When they came to Canberra they had two young children and three suitcases with their clothes—nothing else. They have worked hard and gone without in order to save enough money to buy their own home. Their children are going to university now but still need to live at home. Their house is nearly paid off but they worry what would happen if the penalty rates they receive for their evening work and the occasional weekend work were removed. They want to be able to own their own home before they become too sick to work. Goran struggles with back pain and wonders how much longer he will be fit enough to clean. Without penalties, Goran and Maria will stand to lose their home and would no longer be able to support their children's efforts towards a better life.
Then there is the story of Vicki, who works in a club. She is undertaking some part-time studies at university. She was working at the club for four years and expects to work there for at least another two years. She often works unsociable hours, and in the four years she has worked in the club she has been rostered on Christmas Day twice and New Year's Eve three times. Vicki felt that she missed out on all the time with family and friends but was prepared to do so because the extra income from the public holiday penalties makes a big difference over the rest of the year.
Canberra is the nation's capital, but many of the jobs for the key workers in this town are low paid, with penalty rates making a huge difference between the economic survival and abject poverty, including homelessness. This is especially the case for the people who work in industries like cleaning and early childhood education and care.
Former Chief Minister of this place Kate Carnell took over as CEO of ACCI early this year, and in the Canberra Times she said she would take a hard line against weekend penalty rates. I think that is a shame. It is a shame that anybody in this town, particularly a former Chief Minister, would want to drive people out of their homes and into homelessness because of a reduction in penalty rates.
I was very happy to commemorate international Anti-Poverty Week with some of the lowest paid but most essential workers in the ACT. I will do what I can to ensure their penalty rates are protected for now and into the future so that they will not be driven out of their homes and onto the streets.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.38): I rise to speak about the TEDx conference that was held on 11 October. I had the great privilege of attending TEDxCanberra 2014—Uncharted, and I would acknowledge that Mr Rattenbury was also there. It was an incredible day of ideas, which not only exhibited some of our city's best thinkers but also brought our community together. I walked away from my experience at this conference with much food for thought, and appreciated the opportunity to engage in
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