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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3618 ..

bargaining process. The birth parent of a stillborn child is also entitled to take a full 18 weeks of birth leave available to the ACT public sector. Our employees are important to us and we want to ensure that this is reflected in our conditions of employment and the additional supports that we offer employees, especially during traumatic times in their lives.

I was sorry to read this morning that Ms Lee felt that she could not take leave following the loss of her child. Through our enterprise agreements we are fostering a culture within the ACT public service where people feel comfortable taking leave and feel supported during difficult times in their lives. All of us, of course, in this chamber have a duty to foster this culture of support in our workplaces. This is an issue for all of us.

I acknowledge the discussions in this place today and those who have spoken so well and so passionately about the issue. But this loss is universal and devastating.

I am proud to be part of a government that has provided entitlements that recognise the impact of the loss of a pregnancy and I am also proud to be a part of a union movement that continues to fight for better entitlements for working people and their families. The government is committed to ensuring that all our entitlements and arrangements are in place and reflect the support required for our employees to recover physically and emotionally when coping with stillbirth or miscarriage.

I commend Ellen Pinkas from my office for the work that she has done today with other members’ offices to allow this motion to go through.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (3.27), in reply: I thank all members for their contributions to this debate. I want to acknowledge the babies that you have lost. I want to acknowledge the pregnancies that have ended in sadness and the births that have been of a baby that has passed away. I want to take this moment to remember the suffering and the distress in that experience, sometimes over many weeks as the process unfolds.

I want to acknowledge that it is a turning point for the Assembly that we can discuss these things openly and for all those in the community who are listening or who look back on this debate to know that today we have been thinking about you and about how it would be better for you to have an appropriate paid break which does not require personal negotiations.

We in the Canberra Liberals would clearly be happier if this change was able to be brought immediately; but we understand the EBA negotiation process. But a word of warning: I hope that the EBA negotiations are concluded by December. I have seen them stretch out in this place for some time, sometimes years in the past.

I hope to see this entitlement clearly enunciated so that it is simply a matter of notification to an employer that this is the leave that needs to be taken. I do not want anybody sitting at their desk wishing that they could leave. That is not the modern

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