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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 August 2010) . . Page.. 3771 ..

Mrs Dunne: Which it hasn’t done.

MR CORBELL: As Mrs Dunne also knows, the government has done just that. In my response to the scrutiny committee report on the 18th of this month, I indicated that the government had considered three options as to whether or not this bill was justified and whether alternatives could have been considered. The first was for employers to provide the workplace information. The government has dismissed that on the grounds that we believe that there is a clear conflict of interest. Employers are not the best placed organisation to provide employees with information about their rights of work, particularly those employers that are already doing the wrong thing. Is the Liberal Party seriously suggesting that those employers who are abusing the interests of their employees are suddenly going to tell them about all their rights at work? What a load of nonsense.

The second option that was explored was for security industry trainers to provide the workplace information. The government concluded that this proposal would be both time consuming and involve a cost to the employee. We felt that that was unreasonable. The third option was for registered organisations under the commonwealth Fair Work Act, such as unions—such as the LHMU—to provide that information free of charge. These organisations are already legally acknowledged as having the expertise required to provide information about employees’ workplace rights and entitlements. They are an appropriate provider of the information. They are able to provide it free of charge and, therefore, I believe the government has satisfactorily and entirely reasonably addressed the issues raised by the scrutiny of bills committee.

This is a positive reform. This makes sure that employees who work in a low-paid industry, in an industry where they can often be isolated in the workplace—isolated from colleagues, isolated from people who represent their interests, isolated even from their employers—because of the nature of their working hours and conditions, have good information about how they can go about their work in a safe manner, in an efficient manner and in a manner that has regard to their rights and entitlements under law. It is an important reform. It is a reform the Labor government is pleased to present to the Assembly. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 11

Noes 6

Mr Barr

Ms Hunter

Mr Coe

Mr Hanson

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Doszpot

Mr Seselja

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

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