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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 August 2010) . . Page.. 3769 ..


Of course, what this recognises is that the provisions of the commonwealth’s Fair Work Act, which already provide a right to employee organisations such as unions to meet with employees to discuss their workplace rights and responsibilities, are not always able to be effectively deployed in the territory because the particular circumstances of the workplace, the particular circumstances of the working conditions of security industry employees, mean that it is much more difficult to get this information out to them.

The bill represents the government’s commitment to ensuring that workers in vulnerable positions have access to information about their rights at work. It ensures that security guards are able to be informed about their workplace rights and responsibilities and it ensures that they are on the same level playing field as other employees. What is so objectionable about that from the Liberal Party’s position? Why do they not see the inherent handicap that workers in the security industry face in accessing information about their rights and entitlements that other employees do not face and that this legislation is needed to put them on an even playing field?

The bill requires applicants for a security employee licence to attend an information session where union officials will provide them with workplace information. This session only needs to be attended once. It is a requirement that it is free and it is easily accessible. Participants will receive that certificate of attendance and they will then be able to be registered as an employee in this industry.

A number of issues have been raised by the opposition in the course of debate on this bill, and I would like to address those now. The first is the issue of consultation. “We have not consulted,” Mrs Dunne splutters. That is wrong, Mrs Dunne; it is just plain wrong. At the beginning of this year my department formally approached the seven employer representatives representing employers in this industry. The organisations that were formally approached included the Security Providers Association of Australia, the Building Service Contractors Association of Australia, the Australian Security Industry Association, ASIS International, the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National Electrical and Communications Association, the Canberra Business Council and the Australian Hotels Association. Those organisations were all approached formally, in writing, provided with details of the proposal and asked for their comment.

Following that, my department made verbal contact with those same organisations seeking their feedback and their views. On 26 February, my department contacted Mr Grant Shaw, who represents the National Electrical and Communications Association. On the same day, my department contacted Ms Chris Faulks, representing the Canberra Business Council. On the same day, my department contacted Mr Chris Peters and asked him to contact the department. On the same day, my department contacted Mr Kevin Antoine, representing the Building Service Contractors Association of Australia. Again, on the same day, my department contacted Mr Graham Pollock, representing ASIS ACT. In March, my department contacted Mr Bryan de Caires, representing the Australian Security Industry Association and, in March, my department contacted Ms Pam Scott, representing the National Electrical and Communications Association. My department again contacted Mr Chris Peters, representing the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in March. In March, we again contacted Mr Bryan de Caires, representing ASIAL. We again contacted Mr Chris Peters, asking him to respond to the letter and


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