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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1237 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

undertaking robust negotiations in terms of staff management, and completing a reasonable transition of each position to the appropriate level under the SACS award. I must say, Mr Rugendyke, that I am aware of a number of instances in the past where they have been given some assistance, too, by this Government, and that includes some financial assistance.

Education and Community Services and Health and Community Care have also jointly funded the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to provide information as well as assistance to non-government organisations to complete the transition process. Additionally, the ACT Council of Social Services and the Youth Coalition of the ACT have been funded to develop and deliver a training program for the boards of management and also the service directors. Those will cover such areas as the implementation of the SACS award, implementation of the Work Relations Act and the implementation of service purchasing arrangements.

Mr Rugendyke, I am also aware that the SACS award is still a bit of a moving feast. It is not by any means completed yet. There are a number of other issues which are still being argued out in the commission. One thing obviously that worries individual organisations a lot is penalty rates. I am also aware that there are matters that have been put before the commission in terms of the differences between New South Wales and the ACT; and how it is actually operated in the ACT and whether, in fact, some of those things should be taken into account in terms of the award. So the award itself and the ramifications in relation to it have not been finalised as yet, and obviously, Mr Rugendyke, that is something the Government is going to monitor very closely.

MR RUGENDYKE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you give the Assembly an assurance that funds will not be withdrawn from some smaller agencies to fund the implementation of the SACS awards of some larger agencies?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Rugendyke, you are probably aware that fairly recently, I think, I announced a whole series of grants in relation to one of the community service programs. That was as a result of applications made and assessed. I do not recall any organisations being defunded. We treat all the applications on merit. To take money away from an organisation that is providing a recognised worthwhile service so that perhaps some other organisation can be funded is not something which I would think would be looked on very favourably by the committee that looks at giving out the grants. That is not a consideration in terms of what additional funds might be made available. That is another question entirely, Mr Rugendyke. Defunding a good organisation doing its job properly in order to fund another is certainly something that I do not think any committee that I have ever been associated with would look terribly favourably at.

Release of Prisoner

MR HARGREAVES: I address my question to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety, at the moment my favourite Minister. On 28 May, coincidentally and irrelevantly the anniversary of Mr and Mrs Luchetti of Isaacs, who happen to live in your electorate - I am sure you would like to send them congratulations - in answer to a question from me,

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