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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 3992 ..


resources, recruitment and promotion processes within the service. Amendments in the bill make adjustments to clarify long service leave arrangements for ACT public servants, particularly relating to the Long Service Leave Act and the public sector management standards. No current or future public servants should be worse off from the proposed long service leave amendments.

The provision of contact details of new employees to the relevant union has already been considered as part of the enterprise bargaining agreements, as noted by the Chief Minister. Unions offer valuable services and resources for workplace safety, fairness and wellbeing, and we agree that it is reasonable that all new employees are made aware of the union applicable to their workplace.

There are privacy concerns about the provision of employee contact details to unions, but we accept that the government has taken steps to minimise risks to privacy, such as only providing the work-specific information of the new employee and allowing employees to opt out of this process. I think these are appropriate considerations. If one thinks about the way the Human Rights Act operates, it is a balancing test. I think that appropriate protections have been put in place that enable people to be given access to this information, whilst at the same time appropriately protecting their privacy.

Certainly, the Public Sector Management Act allows for the provision of reasonable and equitable processes and guidelines for the ACT public service. The amendments in this bill make changes to streamline and clarify sections of the relevant acts. I think that, on balance, these are all improvements to the Public Sector Management Act, and we are pleased to support the bill today.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tertiary Education, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (3.33), in reply: I thank Mr Rattenbury for his comments. I probably need to thank the HR Nicholls Society and the Institute of Public Affairs for the comments from Miss C Burch. They would appear to have been written with membership of those two august institutions in mind.

I do not think it is worth spending too much of the Assembly’s time this afternoon debating centuries-old industrial relations and anti-industrial relations, hard-line positions and anti-union rhetoric that we have come to expect. Miss C Burch seems to want to position herself at the extreme right of the nation’s industrial relations debate. That is her choice.

I would simply remind members that it is clear in the amendments contained in section 242A that the information relates to ACT government email addresses and phone numbers, not an individual employee’s private email or private contact details, and that anyone who works for government in the public service will have a work email and phone address. That is not their personal information; that is related to their public service employment. I think that that distinction in the legislation is quite clear; so the sort of scaremongering coming from Miss C Burch is perhaps not really worthy of any further comment. I commend the legislation to the Assembly and I thank the majority of members for their support of the bill.


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