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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2416..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

OH&S to employees and employers, and this complements the education and information provided by government.

Mr Smyth went on with a whole load of stuff, which I think I covered when I covered comments made by Mr Stefaniak and Mr Pratt. Mr Smyth cited one part of the federal act-unions can only enter workplaces to hold discussions with members-but failed to inform the Assembly that unions have the right to enter for any suspected breach of an industrial award or to inspect time and wages records. Again, the full story was not given.

A lot of work has gone into this legislation. It is good legislation. I accept that there is some fear and apprehension about a certain part of it but, with the government holding off on the commencement of the right of entry provisions until January, there will be enough time to address people's concerns, as we did when we unpicked all the misinformation that was put out about industrial manslaughter.

Mrs Cross asked why we did not increase allocations to WorkCover. For the information of members, there are initiatives in the budget papers to increase support for WorkCover. There are three initiatives there, including providing extra workplace inspectors to the inspectorate sectio. This legislation is merely part of a range of initiatives that the government is putting in place to make sure that ACT workplaces are the safest in Australia and that we have a strong, robust regulatory regime to support employers and employees in the workplace.

In closing I would like to thank the Office of Industrial Relations for their effort in putting this legislation together and in all the discussions that went on. I thank Garrett Purtill and Nick Martin in my office, who spent a lot of time talking members through it. I thank members for their willingness to hold discussions on this legislation and for their cooperation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2.

MS GALLAGHER (11.48): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments [see schedule 3 at page 2446].

As foreshadowed earlier, this government amendment delays the commencement of the right of entry provisions until 1 January 2005. The remainder of the bill will commence 28 days following notification. This amendment is in response to suggestions by employer representatives that additional time is required to roll out an education and information campaign. It will also enable the establishment of working relationships around the new provisions through the preparation of guidance notes.

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