Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1608..
MR BERRY (continuing):
who, because of company failures or commercial contract changes, had missed out on long service leave. It was this consultation that led to Labor promising before the 2001 Legislative Assembly election that it would put in place a new private sector long service leave scheme.
Late last year, I circulated a draft of this bill to unions, employers and the Liberal and crossbench members of this Assembly. Since then, I have worked to incorporate amendments suggested as part of that consultation. I have been committed over my entire career in the union movement and in this Assembly to improving the lot of ordinary working people and it has been with a great deal of pride that I have introduced this bill today.
The bill that I have introduced today adopts the proven models in place for the building and construction industry and the contract cleaning industry. As I said earlier, it is a portable scheme where the entitlements of workers are held in a secure fund managed by a tripartite board from government, business and unions.
The fund is the product of a levy collected from all employers, held in trust for the workers and distributed in accordance with the provisions of the bill under the control of the board. The levy is set by actuarial assessments, a minimum of three years apart, and applies to all ACT employers and workers except apprentices and employees already covered by the building and construction industry scheme.
The levy in operation in the Long Service Leave (Contract Cleaning) Act 1999, which this bill repeals, stands at 2 per cent of salary. I expect that this will be the rate set in the early stages of operation of this new scheme. Experience has shown in the building and construction industry scheme that this rate will fall dramatically over time. For example, the building and construction industry scheme levy began at 2.5 per cent and has now fallen to 1 per cent, and the scheme has $40 million in reserves.
Finally, I would like to thank all the people who have helped in the preparation of the bill, including those who talked to me before the last election about the need for the legislation. I particularly want to thank the parliamentary counsel, who showed a great deal of patience with the demands that I served upon them in relation to this bill and brought to bear their usual skill, care and attention to what is, after all, a fairly complex task. I thank those who have scrutinised the bill and made suggestions to improve it, particularly the unions who recognise the need and those who already have a scheme and offered their expert advice, and all those others who wanted to ensure that this bill achieves its aims. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Ms Gallagher ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Legal Affairs-Standing Committee
Motion (by Ms Gallagher, by leave) proposed:
That notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 174-