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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 910 ..

enterprise agreement provisions allow for the appointment of existing employees without further merit processes, provided that certain criteria are met.

Our public service have worked incredibly hard over the last year in dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve safe and secure jobs, and this government is committed to providing those jobs. The government continues to ensure that our workplaces are safe for our employees and the community who use our services. In the last year the focus has been on responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As homes became workplaces for thousands of ACT public service employees, others were involved in providing critical healthcare services or were working to ensure that vital services supporting our community could continue.

The whole-of-government work health and safety response has occurred on two fronts—ensuring that risks of exposure to COVID-19 are identified and managed, and supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of our people in their changed working arrangements.

Once again we have seen that the Canberra Liberals have no respect for our public service. Ms Castley has represented the public service as wandering around the city wearing lanyards and getting coffee. She has no idea that most of the public service are in fact working in hospitals, on the front lines of the COVID pandemic, or working in schools. They are in our depots and behind the wheels of our buses. They are there to take care of us and our city when we need them most.

In question time today, the Canberra Liberals attempted to smear public servants. Here, again, they have no respect. They have no respect for the work of our public servants, and they should be ashamed of their comments.

A survey conducted in December 2020 provided all ACT government employees with the opportunity to provide feedback about their health, safety and wellbeing at work. We heard that, overall, employees are feeling safe and well and are confident about the government’s ability to continue serving the community as the pandemic continues.

Other significant work health and safety priorities for the government in 2020 and early 2021 have been supporting the move to new office accommodation in Dickson and the city, and the second Comcare unit, as part of the ACT government’s workers compensation self-insurance licence.

Looking to 2021-22, work health and safety priorities continue to be centred on responses to COVID-19. This will include transitioning, guiding hybrid and other changed working conditions—making sure that they are embedded. Work has also begun on commencing the next bargaining round for 15 new enterprise agreements, covering the majority of ACT public service employees. Government representatives met with the relevant unions last week to formally commence bargaining. Further updates will be provided to the Assembly as bargaining progresses.

The ACT government is delivering for working Canberrans by supporting WorkSafe as a strong, independent regulator. The Office of the Work Health and Safety

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