Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3228 ..
are always looking for opportunities to improve our existing arrangements. This bill gives effect to the advisory council’s recommendations in the following ways: Firstly, it amends section 22S of the act to enhance the Secure Local Jobs Code Registrar’s powers to obtain information or documentation to improve compliance with the code obligations and make determinations; and to provide the registrar with appropriate inspection and entry powers for the purpose of undertaking investigations into non-compliance with the code obligations.
What these changes mean in practice is that the registrar will have the power to enter the premises of a code-certified entity performing territory-funded work to inspect, examine, ask questions or gather information about their compliance with the Secure Local Jobs Code. This will be useful in instances where non-compliance is suspected to be occurring but other authorities have not yet got involved.
These changes will also mean the registrar has the power to give anything, including information or documents obtained from an investigation, to any entity responsible for the administration of a workplace law. This will ensure that, if the registrar becomes aware of non-compliance with workplace laws in the course of assessing compliance with the code, they are able to pass this on to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.
Importantly too, the bill will give the registrar the power to suspend or place conditions on an entity’s certificate if they suspect failure to comply with the code. This is important because at present an investigation can be underway for non-compliance but this does not prevent a contractor from bidding for other ACT government work. This is because the Secure Local Jobs Code certificate remains active until an investigation is completed and it is cancelled or other conditions imposed. Giving the registrar the ability to suspend code certification while an investigation is underway is an important mechanism for ensuring ACT government agencies do not repeatedly contract with non-compliant entities while previous issues are being investigated.
The bill also makes a series of changes to the current requirements in relation to the submission of a labour relations, training and workplace equity plan by prospective suppliers. The bill amends section 22G of the act to adjust the threshold at which a plan must be submitted for territory-funded construction work, taking it from $25,000 to $200,000. Plan submission requirements for security, cleaning, and traffic management covered by the code will remain at $25,000.
Tenderers that have previously engaged with the territory under a contract for territory-funded work and submitted a labour relations, training and workplace equity plan will also now be required to demonstrate how they have complied with the commitments in those previous plans as part of their response to any ACT government tender.
In summary, this bill will enhance the overall operation of the Secure Local Jobs Code and strengthen the ACT government’s procurement practices so that territory-funded contracts in industries that are vulnerable to insecure work are only awarded to businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards. These amendments will