Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 11 Hansard (30 November) . . Page.. 3467 ..
MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Mr Humphries , pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory memorandum and draft management standards.
Title read by Clerk.
MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs, Attorney-General and Treasurer) (10:32): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
This bill amends the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and the Fire Brigade (Administration) Act 1974 to introduce a new legislative framework for discipline, inefficiency and review arrangements in the ACT public service. Since the creation of a separate ACT public service, the Public Sector Management Act has tied the ACT public service to a system of review of employment related decisions under the Commonwealth Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984. Similar links existed for staff employed under the Fire Brigade (Administration) Act. Last year the Commonwealth repealed the Merit Protection Act and introduced a new system of review as part of its own legislative reforms.
As a result of these changes, the Assembly passed amendments to the Public Sector Management Act and the Fire Brigade (Administration) Act late last year to preserve the existing review systems, notwithstanding the repeal of the Merit Protection Act. In introducing these interim arrangements, the former Chief Minister flagged that further amendments were required to achieve an ACT public service review framework.
As with the Commonwealth, it was also time for the ACT public service to move on. In particular, it was time to move away from reliance on Commonwealth legislation that even the Commonwealth agreed was outdated, overly legalistic, complex and entirely inappropriate for a modern workplace.
Mr Speaker, this bill will replace the old discipline, inefficiency and review arrangements with a system that is simpler, less legalistic and focuses on the practical resolution of issues at the workplace level, with a second tier review right to the Commissioner for Public Administration on procedural grounds. In developing this framework, the government has taken note of the changes that agencies have already agreed with staff and unions through certified agreements.