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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2261 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

It was only a short time ago that we had a very similar debate on the ACT Forests workers. People who had been employed by ACT Forests for a significant number of years were forced into a situation where their jobs were no longer needed. Once again, a number of workers, some who I understand have been with the organisation for a number of years, are being forced out on the street through a decision made about the letting of a new contract.

At the very least, the government should ensure that no workers are forced to take a redundancy against their wishes. It is only fair that they be offered a redundancy package similar to, but no worse than, that ACT Forests workers got. A precedent has been set and these people should be no worse off than ACT Forests workers.

I am sure that other members will rise in support of what we are attempting to do here tonight. It is my sincere hope that the minister will hear the call of the majority of people in this place and right this wrong.

I move the following amendment to Mr Berry's motion:

Omit "That the Government direct Totalcare", substitute "That this Assembly calls on the Government to direct Totalcare".

MR HARGREAVES (10.36): Mr Speaker, with the Assembly's indulgence, I will address the amendment and the motion at the same time, to save time. Why do people take an instant dislike to Bronwyn Bishop? Same reason: it saves time.

I am pretty sure I remember this Chief Minister, at about draft budget time, saying that there would be no more redundancies. Now they are a distinct possibility. Mr Osborne, Ms Tucker and a lot of other people would remember that Mrs Carnell said that there would be no involuntary redundancies. Certainly Ms Rosemary Follett, when she was Chief Minister, said that there would be no forced redundancies.

A couple of people have come through my office in the last 12 months because they had been forced to take redundancies. I am saddened to see that. When I worked in the public service, I went into the transit lounge that did not exist about three times in the course of my career. I was told, "You do not have to worry about this, because they will never do it. They will never force you." I do not believe it. They said, "You do not have to worry about being flicked forcibly, because they will never do it to you. We have Kate Carnell's promise and we have Rosemary Follett's promise. If we add the two together, they will find you something else to do if you want to stay on at your substantive salary. At worst, they will offer you something at the next level down."

The first part of this motion asks the government to direct Totalcare. The Assembly is not directing the government. When we are talking about the expenditure of money, the government can direct Totalcare under whatever it likes. It can say, "You can do this without affecting your bottom line." It would not be the first time that has happened.

I ask those people we depend on to give some justice to workers. Please support the first paragraph of the motion. Look at the guys in the gallery. They have spent all day here waiting for us to make this decision. I do not think it is all that fair.

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