Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3517..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
leave law. The Office of Industrial Relations has brought one such employer, Endoxos, to my direct attention. That employer has been named in this Assembly before. Members will be aware that Endoxos was operated under the directorship of Mr Lindsay Burke. I believe that Mrs Burke, who is sitting in the chamber, is a former director of that company, although she resigned as a director on being elected to the Assembly at the last election.
In August 2001 Endoxos entered into an arrangement with a Sydney based labour hire firm whereby Endoxos employees purportedly became self-employed contractors but they still worked under the full supervision of Endoxos directors. Endoxos originally registered with the Cleaning Industry Long Service Leave Board in October 2000. It complied with the act by submitting quarterly returns and levy payments for its 60 workers until 19 August 2001. As I said earlier, at that time Endoxos entered into an arrangement with a Sydney based labour hire company. The board maintained that the arrangement with MLC, the company in Sydney, was unlawful. It determined that the workers were still employees of Endoxos and, as such, were entitled to the portable long service leave benefits provided by the act.
The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, on behalf of one of Endoxos' employees, pursued this matter with the Full Bench of the Federal Court. In November 2003 the court ruled that the worker was not an independent contractor but an employee for the purposes of redundancy and other award provisions and benefits. By the time this matter reached the Federal Court Endoxos had ceased to trade in the commercial cleaning industry in the ACT and all workers had been terminated by 12 January 2003. The board sought remedy from Endoxos for the lost service and levies of their employees for the period 20 August 2001 to 12 January 2003, but Endoxos' lawyers refused it.
The board considered its options regarding prosecution and debt recovery. It decided not to pursue the matter in the courts due to the substantial cost that that may incur to the fund and because of the futility of prosecuting a company that was no longer trading and that was probably insolvent. A total sum of $18,088 of long service leave credits that are owed to workers will never be paid by their employer, as they should be. The Long Service Leave Board will have to pick up that amount of $18,088 and pay it to Endoxos' workers.
Mr Smyth: Do you have your facts right?
MS GALLAGHER: Yes, I do have my facts right, Mr Smyth. The workers have been advised of the board's decision and they appreciate its generosity. The former directors of Endoxos have also been informed of the board's decision but they have not made any comment. There has been no media release by the Burke family that the $18,088 that is owing to its previous employees will not be paid by Endoxos because someone else is jumping in and will pay that amount.
Mr Cornwell: I take a point of order. Is it acceptable for Mr Hargreaves, who asked the question, to walk out of the chamber in the middle of the minister's answer?
MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The member will resume his seat.