Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 May 2022) . . Page.. 1107 ..
It should also be noted that, although it is not a recent initiative, the territory has nation-leading portable long service leave schemes in building and construction industry, the contract cleaning industry, the community sector and the security industry. These schemes benefit potentially insecure and vulnerable workers by allowing them to transfer from employer to employer without losing the service already accrued within the covered industry.
Our debate today is the beginning of a very interesting and very important discussion on the rights of casual workers. Over the coming months we will look at how we can continue that fight. We will look to work with Mr Pettersson, with the union movement and with other stakeholders, Ms Castley, to work out how schemes could operate in the ACT. There are a number of ways it could work. It could run like an insurance scheme or it could run through the operation of a levy. The government will explore all of these options as the Victorian pilot is underway.
The Victorian sick pay guarantee scheme is only in the pilot stage and will operate for two years, starting this year. Although I believe that the Victorian scheme will be a successful scheme and create a blueprint for similar options in the future, I feel that it is prudent to consider the outcomes of the Victorian pilot before finalising a similar approach for the territory.
I do not believe that this government’s commitment to improving workers’ rights can be questioned or challenged, but it can always be improved. The motion from Mr Pettersson today does this. Both he and I are proud union members and proud members of a Labor Party that has shown throughout its history that we will stand up for working people. All territory workers and the community at large can be assured that this government will continue to do all it can to uphold these values and protect their rights.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (3.17): Job insecurity is rife. Without a secure job, it can be hard to plan your life, pay the bills, get a home or even stay healthy. For decades successive federal governments have grovelled to big corporations, with little regard for workers, leaving too many people in lowly paid, insecure and unfulfilling work. Long-term job security is a distant memory, while insecure work flourishes and billionaires increase their profits as working people have experienced the slowest sustained wage growth since the Great Depression.
Australians are both overworked and underworked simultaneously. Underemployment overtook unemployment in 2003 and has not looked back since. At the same time many full-time workers want to work fewer hours. Unemployment and underemployment are too high, especially for young people, which my colleague Mr Davis will talk about further.
Secure employment is also increasingly unobtainable, with employers allowed to hire workers as indefinite casuals or on rolling contracts, without any genuine obligation to provide long-term job security. We need to change our laws to tackle rising job insecurity and ensure that casuals and independent contractors are not used to undermine job security. It is time to outlaw insecure work and establish a legislated presumption in favour of ongoing employment.