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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1003 ..

MR STANHOPE: You have not. If that bill is the result of a process that matches or mirrors the process that you engaged in in relation to the commercial and retail tenancies legislation, then you have failed dismally, or your consultative group has failed dismally if that is what you are suggesting to me. If that bill is the outcome of that sort of consultation process, I would like to see who it was that you consulted, what their interests were, and exactly how expert they were in issues around workers compensation. It is a difficult and almost intractable problem that the community is facing, and I do not think your proposals are going to resolve it. You have had an opportunity to deal with this specific-

Mr Humphries: So what are your proposals?

MR STANHOPE: Here is a proposal now that we are debating. We have now been forced to debate this proposal because of the fact that you sat on your hands and did nothing. That is why this motion has been brought forward today. We cannot delay it any longer.

We cannot sit back and allow these two group training schemes to fold. That is in nobody's interests. It is not in the interests of the 250 apprentices who are involved. It is not in the interests of the construction industry. It is not in the interests of Canberra to see a major industry sector such as this denied access to its next round of skilled and expert participants, namely, the apprentices and the trainees that are the product of these training schemes. It is vital that we maintain our edge in this sector, as in all other sectors. These people are the future of this industry sector, and we are risking their futures by not supporting their training and their education.

You had an opportunity to do something about it. As Mr Berry has explained at some length, we would welcome some indication from the government about what it can do to assist these schemes to remain viable and continue to train these kids.

In the absence of any leadership from the government on the issue, Mr Osborne has moved a motion which the Labor Party will support, despite the fact that we are concerned at this interventionist approach, but we are left with no option. It is a signal to the government to show some leadership, to do something, and to ensure that these training schemes do not collapse and put these 250 people at risk.

I think we would have preferred another way. The Labor Party in a way would prefer not to be supporting this motion. We would have preferred that it did not come to this. We would have preferred that the government show some innovative and strategic leadership and support this industry sector and these young people through these training schemes.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired

MRS BURKE (11.40): Before agreeing to these changes this Assembly must consider what it is doing and what it is saying in relation to the duty on employers to do the right thing by their workers. What does this change say about the duty of care owed by employers to their workers? The question we must ask ourselves is not just a practical question, but a moral question.

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