Page 1110 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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Victoria!—must earnestly investigate the provision of sick and carer’s pay for casual workers.

It is nothing short of bizarre that we have continued to look at this as acceptable. We are a wealthy country. During the pandemic the wealth of Australia’s billionaires grew at an eye-watering 25 per cent, to a record high of $357 billion. By contrast, you could run this government and this city for many years on the combined wealth that Australian billionaires have accrued over the last year.

In addition, it is worth noting that one in three big corporations in this country pay no tax—not a little tax but no tax; zero dollars. But according to our federal coalition Liberal-National government, these young people do not deserve the support of sick pay and sick leave. Let it be known that these billionaires are not the product of hard work; they are the product of policy failure.

As we approach this federal election, young people will have a choice. They can support a political establishment that will continue to casualise their work, hike up their university fees, tinker around the edges of the housing crisis and subject them to income support payments below the Henderson poverty line; or young people can seek out parties and candidates who will support wiping student debt, raising income support to $88 a day, including dental and mental health care as part of Medicare, and strengthening workplace rights. As you might expect, Mr Deputy Speaker, I know candidates and I know a party who have policies to support young people on all of these issues.

I commend Mr Pettersson’s motion. I commend him for his continued advocacy for working people in the territory. The Greens are pleased to support the motion.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.27): I am very pleased to speak on this very exciting motion in the Assembly today. I acknowledge and welcome Mr Pettersson’s contribution through this motion. What an amazing thing it would be if we were successful in the ACT in providing sick leave benefits for these casual workers. This would be absolutely life changing for the thousands of mostly low-paid, young, marginalised, often women and people with English as a second language. It would be life changing for them.

It will make a huge difference to all businesses as well, because turnover is bad for businesses. When you can retain employees for longer periods of time, when they are valued, respected and paid appropriately, that is good for business, and that is what would be delivered if it was able to be achieved in the ACT. It is something to be absolutely celebrated.

It is perfectly timed, after the May Day long weekend, following celebrations of union wins over decades and past generations—the eight-hour day, annual leave, public holiday rates and leave, and so much more. It is a day that is dedicated to the working class, encouraging those of us who enjoy the rights that we enjoy today to

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