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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3038 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: It is because Actew will publish its annual report in the next few weeks. It might be a surprise to Mr Hargreaves, but it actually publishes an annual report every year. It comes out regularly every year and it is to be published, I am advised, in the next few weeks. That is why.

Mr Hargreaves: You just did not know. You did not have a clue.

MR HUMPHRIES: Quite the contrary. I am telling you that it is normal practice to publish an annual report about this time. I cannot be absolutely certain that it is going to be before 20 October, but it usually is about this time of year. In fact, my advice today is that it will be published in the next few weeks.

Disability sector

MR WOOD: My question is to Mr Humphries. Since I am seeking some detail, I advised Mr Humphries' office early this morning that I would be asking this question. Mr Humphries, you and I were at a disability sector forum last week where we heard of the problem in that sector of the increased salary bill following the last increase announced last week in the SACS award. Do you yet have an indication of the cost in total to the community sector of that increase, and are you able to indicate ways that the sector can be funded to cover it?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Wood for the question and for the notice that he would be asking it. I am aware that the SACS award was common ruled in the ACT in February and was issued on 1 June. Of course, community organisations employing people under the award-and there are a large number of them-will be liable to pay salary and penalty rates contained in the award, which are obviously higher than they were before.

I might say that not all employees of community organisations are employed under the SACS award. For example, health professionals and administrative staff may be employed under other awards. But a number of employees, of course, are.

The cost impact on community organisations has been estimated by government officers at between 9 and 15 per cent, depending on the organisation. The full cost can only be known through examination by those organisations of their staffing structures. There will be a cost to agencies that deliver services on the government's behalf and the government is committed to ensuring that services to the community are maintained at an appropriate level.

The SACS impact has been recognised already in a number of areas. For example, in the supported accommodation assistance program administered by my colleague Mr Moore, $1.5 million of combined ACT/Commonwealth money is available to address SACS implications, with the ACT government committing $343,000 in 2000-2001 and $685,000 in 2001-2002.

We are at the moment conducting an audit of SAAP agencies to determine the financial assistance required. The work will be extended to understand the broader impact on other community organisations. Through this process we hope to get an understanding of the impact and then consider the options to address the impact.

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