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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3619 ..

Cleaning contract

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the minister for housing. An article in the Sunday Times of 26 August reported a managing director of a high-profile cleaning company as saying the company was forced to take other measures to deal with its growing workers compensation premiums. Can the minister confirm that this company currently holds a contract to clean common areas and windows of ACT Housing multi-unit properties?

MR MOORE: I do not think I read the article. I do not know which company you are referring to. I would not be able to confirm that because individual contracts are done at quite some distance from me. Housing, as of 1 July, changed the people who provide services. We changed to a total facilities management process. We have one contractor providing management of our facilities in the north of Canberra and another contractor providing facilities south of Canberra. If there is a situation like that, I doubt that it would be either of those two major contractors, and therefore it may be a subcontractor to them. It would not be something I would expect to know or would expect to take responsibility for.

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. Will the minister get a copy of that article on 26 August and will he investigate that the other measures concerned involve the dismissal of the company's 70 cleaning staff and the subsequent re-hiring of them as independent contractors?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, if Mr Hargreaves would like to get a copy of the article for me and get it to my office-

Mr Hargreaves: Oh, for God's sake. Don't tell me you have not got it?

MR MOORE: I have 24 hours to answer this question. If you get me the thing I will examine it and see what I can find out.


MR BERRY: My question is to the minister for health. It is in relation to the same matter. Will the minister investigate whether the cleaning firm Endoxos employs independent contractors to do work contracted by ACT Housing and whether the company is no longer having to meet not only workers compensation premiums but also is avoiding long service leave, sick leave, superannuation, public liability insurance, PAYE tax and GST? Would the minister agree that, in adopting such a strategy, this company is seriously altering the so-called level playing field that should apply to all tenderers for government contracts?

MR MOORE: I will take that question on notice, Mr Speaker.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I ask the minister: while he is investigating, will he also investigate whether the contract with this company contains a clause that prevents the use of subcontractors; and, if so, what sanction the government will take against the company for breaching its contract?

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