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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3080 ..

Mr Hanson: Long lunch, was it, John?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, Mr Hanson is such a little man, isn’t he?

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Hargreaves, sit down. Mr Hanson, do not interject during the question. Mr Hargreaves, do not do him the honour of responding to it.

MR HARGREAVES: I will not give Mr Hanson any further respect, Mr Speaker. I note the interest in the gallery, and I appreciate people coming, because this is, as I believe, Minister, a significant day. I ask the Minister—this is a significant day for the community sector, this being the first day of the portable long service scheme taking effect—would you please inform the Assembly of just how the scheme will benefit workers in the ACT, who are gathered today in the gallery?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question and I also acknowledge the members of the childcare and community sector that we have here today. Mr Speaker, this government supports a sustainable community sector workforce. From today, a portable long service leave scheme will be in place to benefit all of the workers in the ACT community into the future, and I acknowledge the members of the childcare and the community sector that are watching here today.

Now, Mr Speaker, this scheme supports all childcare and community sector workers in a number of ways. For the first time, it will protect the basic entitlements to long service leave for all community sector workers, even when this has been accrued by service to multiple organisations. This allows the workers to keep their own entitlements. The primary objective of the scheme is to enhance employment conditions for the sector’s workforce, decreasing staff burnout by supporting the staff to take a break. The scheme will also assist in creating an enhanced career path for community sector staff, supporting them to obtain experience in a range of organisations.

This scheme also provides benefits. The scheme is portable, so the benefits accrued in one organisation can carry over to the next, encouraging people to stay in the sector. This increases their skills and knowledge, and benefits both Canberra and the broader sector.

This scheme makes very practical contributions to the workers of the childcare industry and the community sector. The focus on the scheme is very important to me, because it maximises the opportunities and benefits for the workforce that give so much to our community. The scheme will provide enhanced opportunities for workers to stay engaged in the workforce, with a resultant improvement of the quality of life of those for whom they care.

This scheme is about equity and fairness for the workers who support the most vulnerable people and families in our community—and it was a pleasure to meet a number of the childcare and community sectors just before question time. I can tell you, Mr Speaker, and share with others here in the Assembly, they are pleased and

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