Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 25 October 2018) . . Page.. 4262 ..
I foreshadow amendments that have been circulated in my name. I note that they are small and minor changes that do nothing more than provide a modest amount of time for local industry to prepare for the inevitable changes that will come about as a result of the passage of this bill. I understand that the numbers in this place do not support my view on this legislation or that of the opposition.
Without the amendments that we will be proposing—which are to delay the implementation of the scheme by six months—close to 1,300 businesses that have from time to time tendered for construction work in the ACT will have very little time to get the required certification in order for them to tender for government work come 1 January.
Bearing in mind that it is already late October and that the government, on the passage of this legislation, will first need to appoint a registrar then establish an application process for entities to seek their registration certificates for the application process to progress, I would suggest that the government in this instance is probably being a little overambitious to suggest that all those registrations would be capable of being completed in order for government tenders to close in January. It is my view that preparation time is also required by government. As I have stated, a large amount of work needs to be done in this space and there is not a lot of time to do it.
I note the MBA have written to members of this place outlining their concerns about the steps that need to be taken by government prior to commencement of this legislation. They, too, have highlighted the appointment of the secure local jobs registrar. The subsequent appointment of auditors by the registrar will take time, bearing in mind that local businesses need to undertake an audit and make an application for a secure local jobs code certificate prior to tendering for any work. As we all know, leading into Christmas things tend to slow in this town. It is prudent and sensible to allow adequate time for this work to be done. The current commencement date is unrealistic and the opposition firmly believe it needs to be delayed by six months at the very least.
I reiterate my concerns about the legislative conflicts that seem to arise between this bill, should it pass, the commonwealth Fair Work Act and the building codes. These conflicts will put contractors in a difficult position, should they tender for commonwealth work as well as territory work. The ACT government is well aware of this but, as usual, there is only regard for federal laws when it suits this Labor government. That seems very familiar to a certain trade union movement. In fact, the government will no doubt ignore the advice from the commonwealth that has been provided to the minister on these issues and conflicts and will proceed without any regard to the detrimental effects these conflicts could have on local Canberra businesses.
Both the Canberra Business Chamber and the Master Builders Association have raised concerns about the implication of conflicts that will arise between this legislation and the Fair Work Act. The biggest concerns are freedom of association, privacy considerations, induction provisions, and any aspect that gives even more power to the unions, which flies in the face of the intent of the federal codes. It is crucial when