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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 3 Hansard (20 March) . .

Page.. 767..


So supporting the proposed amendment would mean that the government would not be able to recover a significant debt owed to the territory. It would continue to be difficult for the government to recover overpayments previously identified prior to the commencement of the bill if this amendment was agreed. Given Miss Burch's previous views about the importance of ensuring that taxpayers' money is guarded and spent well, I am surprised that she is retrospectively removing an existing requirement that public servants must repay any amount paid by the territory to which the public servant is not legally entitled.

On the financial impact of the bill if this was applied, to answer Miss Burch's question, based on the available data as at November 2017 there are approximately 258 instances where recovery has not yet commenced. But there will be some people who have more than one overpayment, as each overpayment is tracked separately. There will be some people in positions where an overpayment is more likely than in others, so there may be some instances where people have received multiple overpayments.

In summary, this bill does two things which are entirely common sense. On the privacy side, it maintains the status quo. Something that employers cannot currently do, employers will not be able to do. And that is, as I said, a result of significant consultation with a range of stakeholders who have an interest in this matter, who all have issues with the current wording in one way or another.

In relation to the Public Sector Management Act, the bill effectively clarifies in legislation existing arrangements in the enterprise bargaining agreement which were not previously reflected accurately in the legislation, which has made it difficult to come to agreement with some public servants about the repayment of an overpayment, a payment to which they were not legally entitled. On that basis, the government will not be supporting Miss Burch's amendment. If she has a further case to make in relation to that, I will respond in the detail stage.

I thank the scrutiny committee for its consideration of the bill. I note that it did considered human rights issues, especially around privacy, which Miss Burch mentioned. It found no concerns in relation to that and also did not raise any retrospectivity concerns in relation to this bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 4.

MISS C BURCH (Kurrajong) (5.17): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 778]. As I have mentioned, the government's proposed


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