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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3181 ..


I consider that what I am proposing here as an amendment is really friendly to Mr Pettersson’s motion. I trust that he considers it in that manner. As written in the motion, I call on the government to require that the minister publishes guidelines for ministerial decision-making under section 12, “Declarations by Minister—additional coverage of Act”, and section 13, “Declarations by Minister—limitation to coverage of Act”—in fact, exemption from the scheme. I consider this to be a very reasonable addition to Mr Pettersson’s motion. I commend this to the Assembly.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (5.01): The Greens are pleased to support this motion which seeks to extend the ACT’s portable long service leave to areas of the hospitality industry. I am proud that here in the ACT we have led the way in introducing and expanding portable long service schemes. The vision is to protect the entitlements of workers who work in industries that are characterised by high levels of brief employment and mobility.

As highlighted by this motion, hospitality is one such highly mobile industry. The Greens recognise that workers need rest and balance in their lives. This applies at the best of times, but if COVID has taught us anything, it is that rest and balance are more important than ever.

Long service leave allows people to take breaks from work—for example, for caring or parental duties. Another key benefit of portable long service leave is that it allows people to leave situations where they are mistreated or treated unfairly at work without the fear of losing their entitlements. So portable long service leave contributes to employee health and wellbeing and safety. It also helps build a better and fairer society. We firmly support portable long service leave, not just in the sectors currently protected, but across all industries. We have been advocating for a national scheme.

Having said that, I am keen for the expansion of a portable long service scheme in hospitality to happen alongside attention to the very pressing issues of wage theft and mistreatment of workers in the hospitality sector. The 2021 Young Workers Centre survey clearly demonstrates that all measures of exploitation exist for hospitality workers in Canberra. Although many employers are doing the right thing, data shows that wage theft and health and safety failures are not restricted to a few dodgy bosses. And those dodgy bosses get a commercial advantage over the good employers, making it harder for them to do the right thing and stay in business. A portable long service leave scheme that is introduced without addressing this will further increase this inequity.

The key cause of workers’ exploitation is insecure jobs. Insecure jobs create a power imbalance, and give employers power over shifts and access to work, making it too hard for workers to stand up to their bosses, let alone to claim rights such as long service leave. I am anxious to see the fundamental issue of safe and secure jobs being addressed alongside these calls for expanded entitlements.

One of my other concerns with the approach taken so far in the ACT is that expanding the scheme industry by industry creates the haves and the have-nots. Whilst a step-wise approach is practical and less resource intensive, I question how we


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