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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1373 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

today. There is a process within Australian, at least within business enterprises, to try to force people who do not want to use electronic technology to use it.

I was also reminded of the submission from ACTCOSS during the many budget rounds we now have. It included a plea to maintain the personal touch for those people who do not wish to embrace or do not feel capable of embracing modern technology. We have all been annoyed by the robotic phones that we call from time to time and by what appears to be a declining personal touch within services.

I rise only to commend to the Assembly and to the task force the view that we should retain the personal touch for those people who desire it. I would also like to endorse Ms Tucker's point that I think was somewhat Gary-ed during the last address. We do need to strive for absolute equality in the process.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Job applicants-administrative fee

MR BERRY (4.13): I move:

That noting that the Agents Amendment Act 2000 makes it unlawful to 'demand or receive any fee, charge or other remuneration' from a job seeker, this Assembly resolves that the Government discontinue forthwith the $44 administrative fee for job applicants charged by the Department of Education and Community Services, along with any other fees levied as a condition on applications for ACT government jobs.

Members may recall that as far back as 1996, I think, I moved a motion in an attempt to defeat this ugly practice of ripping off job seekers. I was unsuccessful at that time. In the year 2000, with the support of members of this place, I was successful with a bill I introduced to amend the Agents Act to create certain conditions for employment agents, one of which was to prohibit the charging of a fee to a job seeker in a case where an employment agent was providing the job seeker with a job.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, in more recent times it came to my attention that the hitherto $25 fee had risen to $44 and that it was not only for teachers but also for a range of job seekers in the Department of Education and Community Services. A constituent from Brindabella, not of mine, applied for a job with the Department of Education and Community Services as a BSO and kitchen hand. I am not sure what a BSO does.

Mr Quinlan: A blackboard services officer!

MR BERRY: Is that what it means? That sounds pretty good. You are better on acronyms than I am. Unfortunately, the department could not proceed with the job application until certain documentation was provided, namely, a copy of a birth certificate or passport, which is reasonable, a certified copy of a permanent residency or citizenship certificate, if applicable, which is reasonable, and an administrative fee of $44. Before this person could have his name included on the list of job seekers with that department, he had to provide $44.

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