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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1403 ..

Long Service Leave (Cleaning, Building and Property Services) Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Smyth , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.59): Mr Speaker, in December 1999 the Assembly passed the Long Service Leave (Cleaning, Building and Property Services) Bill 1999. That act sought to establish a portable long service scheme for employees in the contract cleaning industry.

It was the intention of the act to provide a portable long service leave scheme for employees of the contract cleaning industry. The act established a board to administer the scheme by registering eligible employers and employees, by managing employer contributions to the scheme, and administering long service leave payments to employees entitled to the benefit.

The Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 was used as a basis for drafting the private members bill which became the act. However, the differences between the cleaning industry and the construction industry were not adequately taken into account when the private members bill was drafted.

The scheme is managed by a board responsible for the payment of long service leave to employees and the collection of funds from employers. In August 2000 the chairman of the board, Mr Robert Yeomans, wrote to me to advise that in the board's opinion the act needed substantial changes to enable it to work as intended. This bill therefore aims to align the operation of the scheme with the nature and circumstances of the contract cleaning industry.

Mr Speaker, the amendments address the themes of how the coverage of the act is defined, the method used to measure service in the contract cleaning industry, and the method used to measure rates of pay and calculate employees long service leave pay.

The act is currently linked, by definition, to the Cleaning (Building and Property Services) ACT Award 1998, which is a federal award. This leaves any government of the ACT in a difficult position if the federal award is changed. In this circumstance the Assembly would have no remedy to address the problem except to amend the act. By linking the whole of the federal award, other industries in the territory are unintentionally affected.

Mr Speaker, the proposed solution is to replace the inappropriate reference to the award with a stand-alone definition. The definition will mirror the award's definition of cleaning work and will focus upon the contract cleaning industry. The bill introduces a measure based upon employees total period of employment rather than the present quota of work days. The current method used by the act to measure rates of pay and calculate long service leave is modelled upon the construction industry's week-day work in daylight hours. By contrast, the cleaning industry operates any time in a 24-hour day

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