Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2755 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
to be a little over $100,000. Mr Berry sought information about that in the Estimates Committee last year and received that information. That information was put on the table. I do not need to repeat it in this place today, because it is already clearly there.
We are looking at $100,000 in operating the scheme over 73 agents in the ACT. Do not forget that these are not big business organisations of the kind that Mr Berry is fond of excoriating. We are talking about some charitable organisations like ACROD, which looks after the placement of people with disabilities, and other charitable or semi-charitable organisations involved in the provision of employment services to people. They would need to bear a cost in excess of $1,000 a year to be part of a system of registration and licensing under Mr Berry's proposed scheme.
Over $1,000 a year is being imposed on businesses in the ACT individually by Mr Berry's legislation. They do not know that as yet. The Government's letter to them was a very straight letter which simply explained the terms of what was put forward in the legislation and asked for their point of view. It did not go into details of what individual members would have to pay. It indicated the total cost of providing the scheme, but I have no doubt at all that if a fee of $1,000 or so is to be charged members will be greatly concerned.
Mr Berry might choose to say that we should subsidise the provision of this licensing regime for employment agents. The question has to be asked: What benefit does the public derive from having this form of registration and licensing imposed on them? I hope members are listening to the arguments that I am putting here. Some of these individual employment agents being asked to pay $1,000 are charities or organisations such as ACROD providing services to disabled people in the ACT. There is no basis for any organisations to be exempted from the fees. If they wish to be licensed or registered as employment agents, they have to pay their registration fee.
If Mr Berry wanted to provide that kind of system, it was incumbent on him to get back to the agents concerned and say to them, "I am going to license the industry. We are proposing to charge you about $1,000 a year to be able to do that. How do you feel about that?".
Mr Berry: That is your number.
MR HUMPHRIES: That is the estimate by my department. It is an estimate which has been - - -
Mr Berry: Come up with a number that makes it hard.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I heard Mr Berry in complete silence when he presented this legislation, and I would ask him to extend the same courtesy to me.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, I would ask that that be continued. You will have the opportunity to respond, Mr Berry.