Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1001 ..

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.30): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the comments made by my colleague Mr Berry in relation to this matter. Mr Berry has established quite clearly some of the concerns that we in the Labor Party have about this proposal and some of the issues that weighed very heavily with us in the decision we made to support this proposal subject to a sunset provision. It is a difficult issue and I think we need to put it into context.

The government has had ample opportunity to respond to the danger and the risk being faced by the group training schemes. One of the concerns we have and one of the motivations for the motion and for our support of it at this time is that on advice to us, particularly from CITEA and to a lesser extent from the MBA, the two group training companies that we have here for the construction industry cannot persist or exist into the future almost exclusively because of the rise in workers compensation premiums that they are facing.

Mr Berry has just indicated the nature of the increase in workers compensation CITEA has faced over the last five years. Over the last five years it has gone from a workers compensation premium of $62,000 to one of just on half a million dollars. The MBA had an increase of $120,000 from last year to this. That was a $120,000 increase which they had not budgeted for.

So what does CITEA budget for next year? It is half a million dollars this year. It went up a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Do they now budget for $600,000 or $700,000? What do they budget for for next year? CITEA budgets for $700,000 next year. What does the MBA budget for? The MBA more than doubled. Do they now budget for $400,000 for next year? This cannot go on. It cannot persist. There is only one outcome from this and that is the outcome that faced the MBA scheme in Western Australia.

The scheme in Western Australia, the future skills group training scheme run by the MBA, collapsed when its premiums increased from $400,000 to $1.2 million. It closed and it left 374 apprentices without a future and a promise by the Western Australian government to ensure the future of those 374 apprentices. I wonder how they did it?

As I understand it, we have a total of about 250 trainees and apprentices in the two group training schemes here. In the context of this, when the CITEA group training scheme closes next October when they are asked to pay, say, $400,000 in the next instalment, is Mr Humphries promising to secure the future of the 150 apprentices and trainees currently employed under that scheme? Is this government promising to secure the future of those apprentices in the way that the Western Australian government promised to secure the future of its apprentices? What promise is this government making about that?

Does this government care? Do we have so many apprenticeships or positions available for those young men and women who seek a career in the construction industry, that group of young Canberrans who have not chosen a tertiary career but have chosen to enter the construction or the building industry, a not particularly expansive or large industry sector in this town? What plans does this government have for ensuring the future of those young people from our families who seek a career in the building or

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .