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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2662 ..


Debate resumed from 22 April 1999, on motion by Ms Carnell:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MS TUCKER (5.56): This Bill makes minor amendments to the way jobs are advertised. They are currently advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette. They are now to be advertised in the territory Gazette. The Bill also broadens the definition of "criminal offence" to include crimes committed in other States. The major concern of the Government seems to be that they do not have the ability to reappoint contract staff within the benefit period. It seems a reasonable piece of legislation, although I understand Mr Berry will be moving an amendment. I will wait to hear his argument.

MR BERRY (5.57): Mr Speaker, when last I made a contribution to this Bill, I was critical of the Government because they had not consulted with unions representing their employees at the time. I have now received a letter from the Chief Minister, dated 27 August 1999, outlining the consultation process which they followed. I would like to thank the Chief Minister for going to the effort of consulting with the relevant union. The Chief Minister also advises that a letter was received from the Australian Nursing Federation which dealt with some of their concerns.

The Bill principally goes to the issue of some technical alterations. It makes some amendments in relation to the assessment of a criminal offence in other jurisdictions. I think that particular clause is satisfactory. I think the clause "Appointments on probation - training offices and teaching offices" is satisfactory. The clause "Officers of the Australian Public Service engaged to perform the duties of Chief Executive or Executive offices" is also generally satisfactory.

The next clause is "Engagement of certain former employee officers and employees prohibited". That relates to the reappointment of senior executive officers, as I recall it. Whilst wavering about the issue in the past, I am prepared not to oppose that particular provision and to keep a watchful eye on the outcome. I note that the nurses union raised some concerns about that, but at this point I do not think there is sufficient evidence for me to resist the move by the Government on that clause. However, it would be a pity if this particular amendment were being pursued with a particular person in mind, rather than as a general approach to a more efficient Public Service. That is one thing that I will be watching.

Clause 8, which amends section 251 of the principal Act, sets out to allow the Chief Minister to ditch her former responsibility for public sector management standards as set out in section 251 of the legislation. The legislation currently reads:

The Commissioner may, with the approval in writing of the Chief Minister, make management standards, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing matters

(a) required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed ...

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