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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1354..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

The federal government called the Cole royal commission six months before a federal election. It devoted $60 million to its execution and devised a very limited scope for its hearings and findings. I think people can legitimately question federal government's intent, from many stakeholder and community viewpoints.

Some of the most disappointing aspects of the report for the ACT industry are those issues which the commission did not address-important issues like workplace safety, unpaid entitlements and the use of illegal labour. These issues received scant attention generally in the report. But they will not be ignored by the ACT government.

The ACT construction industry has one of the lowest rates of industrial action anywhere in Australia. No illegal activity was found by the commissioner in the ACT. The commissioner did, however, find that the industry is a robust industry. I do not think that is news to anyone here. The construction industry generates $486 million in economic activity in an environment of industrial harmony that is generated by stakeholders who have pride in their work and value cooperation.

I am pleased to hear that the ACT did well in this report. It says something about the cooperative spirit of industrial relations that this government has fostered since being elected. Employers and unions both know that this is a fair, open and engaging administration on industrial relations.

We will await Mr Abbott's response to the broader issues in the report and respond to them appropriately. As is expected of the government, we will act to ensure that our cooperative approach to industrial relations is maintained and that unwarranted federal intervention is avoided.

The ACT government will, of course, act on any violation of the law. The ACT government will continue to monitor those areas which were outside the commission's brief and act where appropriate to ensure that OH&S, illegal operations and unpaid entitlements are addressed.

MR STANHOPE: I ask that all further questions be placed on notice.

Theft-role of illicit drug taking

MR WOOD: Yesterday, Mrs Cross asked me a question about research into the relationship between illicit drug taking and crime. I have a fairly detailed response, which I will table. I present the following paper:

Role of illicit drug taking-Answer to question without notice asked of Mr Wood (Minister for Police and Emergency Services) by Mrs Cross and taken on notice on 2 April 2003.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I took on notice a supplementary question from Mrs Cross. I now have the answer, which I am happy to provide. Mrs Cross asked whether the Canberra hospitals have contingency plans in place to deal with a case of


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