Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 609 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I would like to conclude by saying that this legislation is also very timely. It is very important that we get procedures in place to ensure that building materials are recycled, because, as the MBA report says, it is anticipated that there will be a substantial increase in construction and demolition material resulting from the refurbishment and/or demolition of a number of substantial buildings in the ACT over the next decade, due to the life cycle of those structures. I look forward to a positive response from all members in this place and ongoing debate about how we can get in place policies and practices that will ensure we meet the no waste to landfill by 2010. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned.
FEES FOR POLICE CHECKS
MR BERRY (10.45): Mr Speaker, I move:
That this Assembly:
(1) condemns the $25 fee levied by the Department of Education and Community Services for police checks as an outrageous imposition on those least able to afford such a fee and that it acts as a barrier to employment;
(2) calls on the Carnell Government to abolish the fee.
This motion is about addressing an issue of considerable import which, if this motion is not carried, will set an unfortunate precedent for employers - government employers in particular - in the Australian Capital Territory. This $25 fee was secretly levied by the Department of Education and Community Services as what is described as an administrative charge; but it is, I am told, for police checks. Let me talk about how this first came to my notice. I first discovered this when it was drawn to my attention that the ACT Government, or the Department of Education and Community Services, had advertised a range of positions which included administrative service officers classes 2, 3 and 4 - base grade clerks, in effect, poorly paid workers - for part-time work in the Department of Education, but stating that before applicants would be offered work they would have to pay a $25 administrative charge.
When I checked this issue out, it was explained that the department was charged an administrative fee of $25 by the Australian Federal Police which was being passed on to the prospective employee. That came as something of a shock to me. It also applies, I am told, to part-time teachers and to janitors, whether or not they work in schools. These are generally poorly paid workers who do not have full-time jobs in a market where job seeking is sometimes a desperate undertaking for the unemployed. To discover that the employer is passing on the administrative charges for employing a worker, I must say, I found to be something shocking.