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ACTEW in the position of having the better end of the bargaining situation with their employees and with others. The Trades and Labour Council seem happy to let the date slip and, as I said, Mr Osborne and Mr De Domenico take the Trades and Labour Council's views very seriously. So, Mr Speaker, we think that they should be happy with this amendment.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (10.03): Mr Speaker, the Government will be opposing this amendment. I think I need do no more than reflect on what Mr Osborne said when he spoke at the initial stage of the debate. We have made a decision. The Assembly has made a decision to corporatise ACTEW and I think it was a correct decision. Mr Whitecross said that he was not too fussed as to whether it is 1 January or 1 July. It seems to me that Mr Whitecross has something against 1 July 1995. Now that we have taken the decision to corporatise ACTEW, let us give them better than an even chance to compete with their competitors. Let us start on 1 July 1995.

MR BERRY (10.03): On the industrial relations front there is a range of issues which raise serious concern in relation to this matter. My colleague Mr Whitecross has drawn attention to the fact that much weight has been placed on the view of the unions in relation to this matter. I refer to the letter from the Trades and Labour Council, which says, in part:

However, the TLC position is that the date of corporatisation of ACTEW coincide with the registration of a new enterprise bargaining agreement; and negotiated conclusion of current residual issues which go to the terms and conditions of employment.

The Liberals opposite have said that nothing will change, that workers’ wages and conditions will not change, nobody will be sacked, and so on; but they have also said that changes would be negotiated under the enterprise bargaining arrangements. Why, then, do they not proceed down that path as a preliminary measure? That is the key to this. If you want the support of the trade unions, which you crow about, you really have to proceed down this preliminary path before you get to a point where the unions really agree with you. I have to say that it would be dishonest for the Government to proceed down the path of an early commencement date, as is described in the Bill, without having first gone through the enterprise bargaining arrangements to sort out those very important residual issues which have been around for some time, as I understand it.

A little while ago we heard Mr Humphries speaking on this issue and he drew attention to some employment issues when he was a member of the government service here in the Australian Capital Territory. It became very clear to me what this Government was about in relation to employees. What they intend to do, very clearly, is to make the employment arrangements more flexible. For that read “less attractive”.

Mr De Domenico: Read “more flexible”.

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