Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 25 October 2018) . . Page.. 4274 ..
because you keep saying something, and just because other people keep saying something, does not make it true.
What this bill does is establish a clear and transparent structure and arrangements to ensure that the ACT government does contract only with businesses and entities that meet the highest ethical and labour standards. That is exactly what businesses have been saying they want us to do: to have a clear and transparent regime to meet the objective and the outcome that we all share. It was clear that pretty much everyone who submitted to the inquiry shared the objective that the ACT government should only contract with businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards. That is exactly what the ACT government is committed to do: to ensure that workers are safe at work, treated fairly and have their rights upheld. We want to do business with companies that share these values.
This bill will apply these values in a practical, transparent and equitable manner, will embed them in a legal framework featuring formal and public means of recourse and, in doing so, increase the community confidence in government procurement processes. The bill reflects the government’s willingness to use both the regulatory and market tools available to it to achieve our workplace relations objectives and our ambition to be an exemplar when it comes to ethical procurement.
The bill is an integral component of the government’s secure local jobs package of reforms which are designed to comprehensively engage the government’s significant market and purchasing powers to encourage employers to understand and comply with their workplace relations obligations and adopt exemplary ethical and labour standards. The secure local jobs package will establish an independent audit regime that will actively investigate, verify and certify employers as being compliant with the full range of workplace relations obligations.
This will provide additional assurance to government that all entities tendering for contracts that are covered by the new arrangements understand and comply with their workplace relations obligations. In addition, it will assist businesses, particularly those of small or medium size and which are new to the territory, to fully understand and engage with their legal obligations.
The secure local jobs reforms enabled by this bill will also introduce an additional tender assessment criteria, the labour relations training and workplace equity plan, for contracts above a specified value, as others have discussed. This will provide a competitive advantage in the tender assessment process for employers that uphold high workplace relations standards. It would, for example, allow employers to demonstrate whether and how they would minimise insecure work arrangements and whether they will offer training and career development opportunities for their staff.
The package will establish robust and transparent legal and governance frameworks for managing the new arrangements. This will include the appointment of a secure local jobs registrar with investigation and compliance powers to manage the secure local jobs certification scheme. The registrar will be able to receive and investigate complaints from anyone who reasonably believes that a business that has a certificate is not complying with the code.