Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 260 ..
MS TUCKER (4.56): I want to pick up one issue. Many subjects were covered. I do not intend to try to address all of them. One thing I am concerned about-I would like Mr Quinlan, the Treasurer, to listen to this-regards the social and community service award, the SACS award. I see a contradiction in what is being said. Yesterday, when I asked a question of Mr Stanhope in question time, I was assured that any strain on the community sector would be addressed.
We were under the impression that there was $4 million to address the shortfall of the SACS award. What I am seeing now is that in this appropriation $2.8 million is for the penalty rates and $1.2 million only is to deal with the SACS award. My understanding from the community sector is that you are going to need more like $6 million just to deal with the SACS award, forget the penalties. So even the $4 million is not enough.
I now hear about a consultancy which was not mentioned in the answer to my question yesterday. Is the community sector going to have input into the terms of reference for that consultancy? The minister said that it will start in December and go for a few months. The Chief Minister told us yesterday that he would make sure no community service, including the environment advocacy groups, would get to the point where they cut their services because of their inability to meet their obligations under the SACS award. I do not understand how you can think they can if $2.8 million of this appropriation is just going to the January decision about penalty rates. I want it on the record that I am concerned and I would like clarification-if not here, publicly over the next week.
MR PRATT(4.58): I would like to thank the minister for recognising at least that Canberra's public education system is effective and successful and that it ranks as one of the best in the country. That clearly is a legacy of the former government. As I have said earlier, I look forward to keeping the government honest in retaining that effective system.
I would echo the comments of my colleague Mrs Dunne about the cancellation of the free school bus scheme. I think that is a massively retrograde step. I do not know what the minister intends to do to compensate for the costs of those on the lower socioeconomic scale who do not have a pension or families which are not pension supported but have three or more children.
Lastly, I put on my shadow industrial relations hat and say that I think it is also a massively retrograde step that we will now see what would appear to be a reduction in-I hope not the entire eradication of-enterprise bargaining agreements on an agency basis. I think that will take us back in industrial relations terms.
At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
MS DUNDAS (5.01): I thank the minister for his statement. I am interested in a number of points he raised on education, planning and industrial relations and look forward to further development in these areas. However, I note with dismay that the minister has not yet made a statement on family and youth services, particularly services for young people, which I think is an area of great concern. I hope he does so very soon.