Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 May 2022) . . Page.. 1106 ..
business day after day, to ensure that their needs and concerns are heard and addressed and that the issues that affect them are thoroughly examined.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.12): I thank Mr Pettersson for his motion today. It is an important motion. As I have said in the Assembly before, this Labor government believes that all workers deserve to be treated with respect, to be paid fairly, to have their workplace rights upheld and to go home safely to their families and friends at the end of every day. We have worked every day to make this happen. That is why we are here. That is what we do.
The government is proud of its long history of protecting the rights of territory workers. I am pleased that we are not the only government in Australia looking to improve workplace conditions for people in insecure work. As highlighted by Mr Pettersson, the Victorian government’s sick pay guarantee pilot scheme would provide casual and contract workers with a guarantee that they will receive sick pay when they need to take time off when they are sick or when they need to care for loved ones.
The scheme will directly benefit working people, giving them time in their personal lives to be well and to care for their families. The principles of rest and personal time are enshrined in the labour movement’s fight for the eight-hour day. This motion today continues the fight for workers’ rights and for personal time as well. We also know that having sick people at work is bad for everybody else. It is bad for workplaces, bad for workers and bad for the economy. This paid sick leave scheme is the kind of forward-looking industrial relations policy that could narrow the gap between secure and insecure work in the country.
In recent years, the ACT government has been actively legislating to re-calibrate the ACT’s industrial relations system to enshrine workers’ rights and hold businesses to account. For example, the ACT Secure Local Jobs package was legislated by the government in 2018, with the Secure Local Jobs Code commencing operation in January 2019.
The government created the code to ensure that ACT government contracts for labour are only awarded to employers who obey the law, pay their taxes, prioritise local secure employment and do not commit wage theft.
Also, in May 2021, the government introduced a new licensing scheme for labour hire providers that will better protect vulnerable workers and promote responsible practices in the labour hire services industry. The intent of this scheme is to encourage responsible practices in the ACT labour hire industry to ensure that labour hire businesses operating in the ACT meet their workplace obligations and responsibilities to their workers. The scheme creates a framework that is effective in preventing and responding to noncompliance with workplace standards in the labour hire industry.