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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 757 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

It is no good saying to these people that there is money available for training if they do not know how to access it and they do not know how to use it to their best advantage when they have got it; and it is no good offering them a redundancy package unless they understand how to deal with that package after they have got it. So this is more than just having some broad quality statements. This requires that one-to-one treatment, and I hope the government is prepared to get down to that level and help these people where it really counts.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): I seek leave to speak again to answer some of Mr Kaine's concerns.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: Mr Kaine is right. It is about getting down to the personal level. I am told that we have the best practice in terms of policy on redundancy management in the country, but that does not help you if it is not personal. What we offer is very personal. The clients are individually case managed. They have professional counselling available to them. They are monitored on an individual basis. Financial planning is brought in to assist them. We will go on an individual basis and talk to employers to work out how we can retrain them. If a worker in the career assistance unit finds a course that they would like to do, we will fund that for them. So it is about the person. It is about meeting people where they are at. It is about making sure we look after them the best that we can.

Mr Speaker, the other point is that involuntary redundancies have been agreed to by both the unions and staff under certain circumstances, and that is enshrined in the EBA. The Assembly, if it passes this motion without the amendment, will override the EBA.

MR BERRY (12.27), in reply: Mr Speaker, first of all I want to deal with Mr Humphries' contribution to the debate. When he runs out of ideas he is prone to falling into the habit of making spiteful and personal attacks. I am used to that, so it really does not have much of an effect on me. Mr Humphries is a man of the past. We are not still fighting about the Berlin Wall. It came down in 1989. Gary, it's over. We have moved on. Economic rationalism and the greedy 1980s have been left behind. Economic rationalism, privatisation, and contracting out are all on the nose, Mr Humphries. Join the new world. This is 2001. We are not still back in the greedy 1980s. To dust off some old undergraduate speech and to lay it on some politician in here just demonstrates how bereft of ideas this Chief Minister is.

So far as his other contribution is concerned, just to bring it into perspective, the superannuation payment per annum for the worker who has been mentioned in the course of the debate here is a little less per year than is Mr Humphries' package per week. That should bring it into perspective. I would expect a more compassionate view from this Chief Minister of the strife that some of these workers face against that background. That puts it into perspective.

I do not disagree with Mr Kaine. Change is inevitable. I can recall the days when I was working around the forestry settlements looking after fire equipment. There were hundreds of workers living out there. Those days are gone. Those jobs are gone. We all know that.

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