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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3790 ..

MR CORBELL (10.41): Mr Speaker, I join with my colleague Mr Hird in acknowledging the efforts of all members of the Urban Services Committee, Mr Hird and Mr Rugendyke, who, along with me, have worked through this very important piece of legislation. It is unfortunate that we have not been able to come to a unanimous view. Clearly, it is in the interests of the committee system and the Assembly generally that, wherever possible, members seek to achieve a unanimous view in relation to a report which the committee has been charged to produce.

In this instance, Mr Speaker, I must express my extreme disappointment with the Government's approach to this issue because the Government's approach to this issue, from day one, has been the approach and the role of the spoiler. At every stage they have attempted to obstruct, hinder, delay and put an obstacle in the way of ensuring that people who work in the cleaning industry have access to and actually get long service leave. That has been done at every stage of the journey that this committee has gone through and that this legislation has gone through prior to its referral to the committee. It has been the Government's role to spoil, obstruct, delay and hinder the passage of this Bill and the important objective it seeks to achieve.

Mr Hird, in his dissenting comments in relation to the committee's report, highlights why he believes that the Bill should not proceed at this stage. His main argument, Mr Speaker, is that the Bill would not cover those contract cleaners who are employed under the range of awards not covered by the Bill. I quote from the report:

In Mr Hird's view, the problem of accessing long service leave entitlements, though serious, is not confined to contract cleaners employed under the Cleaning (Building and Property Services) (ACT) Award 1998. The problem exists in relation to cleaners employed under other awards as well as to 'directly employed cleaners' (who are generally covered by a separate Award) and contract cleaners who do less than 50 per cent work on cleaning activities.

The report goes on to say:

The problem also extends to many people who are not cleaners but who are on contracts, especially those in the hospitality sector (such as contract caterers, security staff, groundsmen and nursery staff).

Mr Hird's final point, and it is underlined, is this:

The Bill would cover none of these workers.

Mr Hird identifies what he believes to be a problem but does not suggest a solution. He does not suggest any solution at all. Instead he simply says, "This is a problem and this is why we can't proceed with the Bill". Mr Hird should have been aware, Mr Speaker, that during the public hearings a solution was presented to this problem. If he felt this was a concern he could have used that solution to make a positive recommendation.

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