Page 851 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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The amendment bill will also support businesses in “banking” the funds that are needed to cover the periods of long service leave—similar to pay as you go withholding. Businesses that identify the challenge of attracting and keeping talented team members may find the expansion helps with workforce growth and attraction at the industry level. In 2014, the Fair Work Commission identified a positive connection between increased opportunities for productivity improvements and employment flexibility and improved conditions.

We are conscious of the work businesses will need to do to get ready for entering the portable scheme. Under the bill, businesses will have two years to prepare. During this time, the authority will be engaging with affected employers and peak bodies to fully implement the required administrative and support mechanisms for businesses and workers so that on commencement everyone is ready. To make it easier, the new industries are defined using a well-established industry classification system already used in workers compensation schemes.

I can confirm that the Long Service Leave Authority and directorate officials are planning the education and awareness campaign to support the transition period prior to commencement. In its first stages, the directorate will be publishing factsheets about the changes in this bill. A detailed implementation campaign, of course, will follow. This implementation work will support employers and employees in the newly covered industries in understanding how the portable schemes work and what their responsibilities are.

This government will always stand up for working people and we will do everything we can to ensure that ACT workplaces are safe. This bill furthers the government’s vision that all working Canberrans should be able to accrue and access long service leave and have equal opportunity to rest and recharge after that long service period.

I would like to thank the United Workers Union for their hard work and persistence in ensuring that we have delivered on this important reform. I would also like to thank Mr Pettersson and Ms Cody, the former member for Murrumbidgee, for their advocacy on this issue too. I am confident that this amendment bill will make a positive contribution to the working lives of Canberrans. I commend it to the Assembly.

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (12.16): I seek leave under standing order 47 to get a clarification of words from Minister Berry.

Leave granted.

MS CASTLEY: I believe the minister mentioned in her speech that today the Canberra Liberals have voted against the bill. There has not been a vote yet, so I just ask her to clarify whether that is in fact the case. There has not been a vote yet, so she cannot say that we voted against it.

Ms Berry: That is good news, then. I can correct the record if it is the case that they do not oppose it. I was assuming that they will be opposing it. If they are not opposing it, that is wonderful. I withdraw the suggestion that they are opposing it, if they do not oppose it.

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