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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 744 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

especially structured for additional financial assistance and for assistance with re-employment-I will say that again, re-employment-and redeployment.

The government has made a commitment. I think my colleague Mr Smyth has indicated that no involuntary redundancies will occur unless the government has followed to the letter the provisions of the EBA and the AIRC has agreed that we have done everything in our power under the EBA to avoid the use of involuntary redundancies. I understand that is a commitment that my colleague the Minister for Urban Services has made.

If the government did not take these steps I think we would face a risk of far more people losing their jobs downstream than what is occurring now. If the government were to sit on its hands and let the situation continue, our forests would not be a viable concern, and that would have a far greater effect upon people in jobs than at present.

MR CORBELL (11.32): Mr Speaker, it is patronising in the extreme to suggest that this is a debate about some old-fashioned 1950s class war ideology.

Mr Humphries: Oh, it's true though.

MR CORBELL: It is patronising in the extreme.

Mr Humphries: A sensitive nerve.

MR CORBELL: I know that Gary Humphries, the Chief Minister, is continually fixated with responding to these sorts of debates in that way, but that says more about how he views the debate rather than how members on this side of this place view the debate. This is a contemporary debate, Mr Speaker. It is about the future lives of workers in ACT Forests and the aspirations they have for themselves, their spouses and their families. For Gary Humphries to walk into this place and accuse the Labor Party of making comments about some class war, I think, just shows how out of touch he is with the concerns that these people have raised.

Mr Speaker, what are we talking about here? Are we talking about whether or not ACT Forests should be made more viable? There is no disagreement that ACT Forests needs to improve its operation. No member of this place would disagree with that; nor would any member of this place disagree with running any government agency in a more efficient manner. But what Mr Berry has put forward in his motion today does not deal with either of those things. The question we are debating today is should the workers in ACT Forests be forced out of their jobs in an involuntary way? What Labor members in this place are saying is that they should not. And why shouldn't they?

There are two reasons. First of all, this government made a commitment that there would be no involuntary redundancies. This government said in the last election campaign "the pain is over". They were their words, their phrase; no-one else's; theirs. So what we are doing in moving this motion today is saying stick by it. Stick by that absolute commitment you gave-the pain is over. Do not force out of employment people who do not want to go.

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