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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2260 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

is entirely appropriate. If there is a cost, then somebody has to pay it. The workers are entitled to redundancy and it should be paid.

The government set the standard for redundancy packages when it gave the redundancy package to forestry workers and boasted about it. We did not like the redundancies that happened at ACT Forests either. As I recall, I put a motion here in relation to that matter, to force the government not to make forestry workers redundant against their will. The motion was that there be no involuntary redundancies amongst the 20 forestry jobs which the government had announced its intention to axe.

That debate went on at some length. I was described as a fossil in that debate. I was just trying to put my finger on the exact number of the enhanced redundancies. I will give an example of what Mr Smyth said one of these workers will get-five weeks pay in lieu, two weeks pay for each year's service. a $22,000 bonus for having over 30 years of service and a $2,872 pension per annum. I am not saying that that is what everybody should get, but the enhanced package that was offered to forestry workers has become the standard, in my view, and it is one that Totalcare workers can legitimately aspire to.

I understand that there may be a cost to the government coffers. The Territory Owned Corporations Act allows for the cost to be passed on in some way or another. I do not have the detail of that in front of me, but I am sure everybody understands the provision I refer to.

I do not need to speak any further on the motion. It is a just motion which will bring a just outcome to workers who have been put in a serious situation because of rationalisation of the work force arising from the contracting out of jobs in the ACT government service-I suspect the unnecessary contracting out of jobs. At no time was there any indication to Totalcare that there was anything wrong with the service they provided. Even the chief executive officer of Totalcare went public, saying that he was disappointed in the outcome because he had not been informed of any problems at all, either with cost or with quality. All of the evidence that had come to them was that they were doing the right thing and doing a good job. These workers were doing that.

I need not say any more, other than to recommend to members that they endorse this motion. I hope that the government can find it within their flinty hearts to support this motion. A rare show of generosity would be warmly welcomed by these workers who have been put in a pretty troublesome spot. Put yourself in their position and you will know what I am talking about. I think you know that we all should stick our hands up for this motion.

MR OSBORNE (10.33): I rise in support of Mr Berry's motion. I have one concern over forcing the government to spend money. Mr Berry, in discussions with me, highlighted that that will be a probable outcome of directing the government to do something. I have an amendment which "calls" on the government to do this rather than "directs", so that the decision ultimately will be theirs. But I am sure that a majority of members in this place will send a very clear message to the government about how we think the workers at Totalcare should be treated.

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