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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2664 ..

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (6.05), in reply: The Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill was presented to the Assembly on 25 March this year, quite a long time ago. The debate was adjourned to allow for consultation with unions. That is what Mr Berry brought up at the time. Before I report back to the Assembly on this issue, I would like to take a few moments to recap on the proposed changes to the Act and, I hope, put Mr Berry's mind at ease.

First of all, I would like to flag that I will be moving an amendment to clause 2 of the Bill. Mr Berry, I think you would have got that amendment recently. It simply puts back the commencement date for the territory Gazette to 1 January next year. It is a tiny weeny bit difficult to start something on 1 July when it is nearly 1 September now.

In addition to making some technical changes, this Bill provides for the advertising of ACT Public Service job vacancies and related notices in the territory Gazette rather than the Commonwealth Gazette. The Bill also permits the re-engagement of former chief executives and executives of the ACT Public Service with written approval of the Commissioner for Public Administration and also streamlines the making of routine changes to public sector management standards.

During the debate on 22 April this year, Mr Berry raised a general concern that unions had not been consulted. He also raised specific concerns about the provision for re-engagement of chief executives and executives and about the streamlining process for making standards. Since then, my department has written to unions, inviting them to comment on the proposed changes. We obviously thought that if Mr Berry and Ms Tucker wanted to adjourn debate on the Bill for more consultation with the unions there must be a problem. We did get a response - one. The Australian Nursing Federation responded to the invitation that we sent out. The ANF raised the same concerns as Mr Berry but confirmed that they had no objections to the Bill. Nobody had any objections. We seem to have put off the debate for quite a long time for nothing.

Mr Berry: No, I think you are mistaken. We have no objection to the other proposed amendments.

MS CARNELL: If Mr Berry had listened, he would know that we wrote to the unions inviting them to comment on all the proposed changes in the Bill. Only one union, the Australian Nursing Federation, responded. They said they did not have any objections to the Bill that we put on the table, apart from the ones that Mr Berry raised. This does not show that the union movement have a huge problem with this legislation. It is important to point out that one union echoed the concerns of Mr Berry, probably because Mr Berry told them to, but that is okay. They said that they did not have any other problems. No other objections were received.

The changes in clause 7 permit the re-engagement of executives within the period of any separation, as I explained in an earlier speech. We are putting that in place simply because it seems unnecessary to have rules for executives that are different from those for other members of the Public Service. These rules apply to other members of the public sector. Under the proposed amendments the commissioner would be able to agree to re-engagement in some capacity within the benefit period. I cannot imagine that this

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