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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3337 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Ms Carnell tells us that that will start at 6 o'clock. This half-day holiday will give workers time to steel themselves for the event or even enough time to escape it. This is a once in a millennium New Year's Eve. All elements of the community are preparing for it, most with a great sense of anticipation. Some are readying themselves for Y2K, and they are doing that with some trepidation. I believe all should have extra time to prepare, and extra recognition.

I should add at this point that anybody who might have a notion in the back of their minds of voting against this half-day public holiday will have to be at work on Friday afternoon, New Year's Eve. So keep in the back of your mind that you have to be here. If you are considering voting against this, you have to come to work on Friday afternoon, New Year's Eve. I will be ticking you off. For those who vote against it, I will be here ticking you off.

In New South Wales, 31 December 1999 has been declared a half-day holiday. The Attorney-General, Jeff Shaw, cited assistance in planning for Y2K as well as a need to ease anticipated transport pressures as reasons for the holiday from 12 noon. People in Queanbeyan are going to have a holiday from midday on 31 December. If this Bill is not enacted, people from Queanbeyan who work in the ACT will not have a holiday.

Ms Carnell: Queanbeyan do not have a picnic holiday, do they?

MR BERRY: Ms Carnell interjects that Queanbeyan do not have a picnic holiday. I wish they did. The Chief Minister always says that the Territory has to line itself up with New South Wales. Whenever it is a new tax or some other problem that has to be borne by the ACT, we are told that we have to line ourselves up with New South Wales. It would be silly, she often says, if we did not. We have to line up with New South Wales; otherwise it would be silly. Here is a chance to line up with New South Wales without any negative effects. This is a positive for workers.

It is no wonder that the conservative Liberal Government has not come up with this measure, because it is a positive for workers. Ordinary working people will be able to enjoy the celebration in the ACT or in other places with their families. They will be able to join with the rest of New South Wales in the celebrations and enjoy a similar public holiday. It is commonsense - a word that the Government often uses - for the ACT to legislate for consistency. That is so often the message that we get from this Chief Minister. We have to be consistent with New South Wales when it is bad for us, and when there is a bit of a sting in the tail we have to be consistent. This is a situation which will be welcomed by people. It will provide some consistency, which is a benefit for workers in the ACT.

Bear in mind that many workers will not be at work at that time anyway, because for many it is traditionally a holiday period. Rollcall in offices at that time of the year would not turn up too many heads, but there are a lot of people who work in other areas of employment, for example, the retail industry, who have to work on those sorts of days. They are low paid workers who would enjoy this time off. I do not expect the Carnell Government to be delighted about this - - -

Mr Stanhope: The Chamber of Commerce will support this, won't they?

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