Page 148 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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with dignity and respect. The ACT community expects us to use our significant resources to support the values of safe and secure jobs and ensure that businesses are following workplace laws. The bill before the Assembly today will continue to support the implementation and monitoring of the secure local jobs code. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (11.27): I missed my opportunity to participate in the in-principle stage of this debate so I will jump at this moment. I will speak very briefly. I believe that we have an obligation in this place to advance the cause of working people, and that is why I am so pleased to speak in support of this bill. Primarily, industrial relations are the remit of the commonwealth; that does not render the Assembly entirely powerless.

In 2018, I was proud to be a part of a government that voted for the secure local jobs code; and I was even prouder to see it come to fruition in 2019. The Secure Local Jobs package was introduced to ensure that the ACT government was using our purchasing power as a tool to better protect workers in business and organisations that tender for territory-funded work. The secure local jobs code was created to ensure that we, as a government, live up to the expectations of our community to ensure that when we contract in industries that are vulnerable to insecure work, we award contracts only to businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards. This will become more and more important. Since the code came into effect, we have experienced drastic changes in the labour market that have highlighted just how dangerous insecure and casualised employment is. Now more than ever, it is important that we as a government do our bit to protect workers.

I welcome the amendments proposed under this bill that have arisen from the recent review. These amendments are intended to make participation in secure local jobs easier for both businesses and the government. One of the weaknesses of the code that was highlighted in the review is the lack of inspection and entry powers that would allow the registrar to investigate noncompliance with the code. This bill aims to fix this issue, as well as to provide the registrar with new powers to suspend an organisation’s secure local jobs code certificate if they suspect that the organisation is noncompliant.

In the ACT, we so often lead national policy changes. The Secure Local Jobs package is another example of where we have led the way in protecting workers. Because we are pioneering these changes, we often need to review and improve the structures we have set up to make this city a better place. The amendments proposed in this bill do just that. They build on the excellent work that was undertaken in the last term of government and improve the systems currently in place. Our government can make a

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