Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3841 ..
MR SMYTH (4.16): Mr Deputy Speaker, the opposition will be supporting the motion because I think the sentiment is something with which all members in this place would be in agreement. With regard to point (1) (a)-the importance of the work of non-government organisations-the previous government started the work on the development of a compact with the community sector. It gave clear recognition to the importance of the provision and delivery of community services, advocacy and representation, and the fact that they do contribute to territory-wide understanding of social and environmental concerns. Indeed, many times we went to the NGOs and the community sector to seek their advice and assistance.
The best example of that is the work of the poverty task force, which clearly highlighted the state of those on lower incomes in the ACT, and the various sorts of poverty people face. So we certainly have a good understanding of that. We sought to formally recognise that through the compact work completed early this year by the current government.
It is good that that work has taken place. However, issues concerning accommodation, equipment, and the relatively low level of wages are yet to be addressed. For instance, we would have seen that codifying the financial arrangements through the purchaser provider agreement would not only provide accountability, but also would ensure that organisations are paid appropriately for the services they provide. Of course, that was overtaken by the AIRC decision and the increase in the SACS awards. The then government and the incoming government agreed, in the caretaker period, that this flow-on would occur. However, there are unintended consequences there which have perhaps not been addressed in entirety. That concerns the terms and conditions of workers on overtime or working outside normal hours.
I know of one organisation which, under the award, used to pay for only three hours of service when a staff member might sleep at the organisation's place of business, where services were provided. Under the current award, they must be paid for the full eight hours of the shift. That has placed a significant burden on organisations that, even though they have received the increase in the SACS award as a percentage of the moneys they were paid, have not received extra payments to cover what they now have to pay.
For one organisation, the ACT government provided partial funding. However, that funding was half of what it needed. Under the terms of the pay increase handed down by the AIRC, they got $28,000-however, to cover the shortfall, they needed $55,000. There are a number of organisations like this, where, under the new arrangement, they have not been fully compensated for the work they do. The issue of how we tackle future increases is something the government will have to address in the near future. These organisations are covered by the SACS award. Perhaps an argument should be mounted as to the appropriate cover and appropriate wages people working in this sector deserve. That is something of which we need to be aware.
The previous government undertook some reviews-particularly the community facilities review-to find out what we had, what state the services were in, where they were and what purposes they were serving. That is now a review the current government has. Indeed, part of our commitment is seen clearly in section 56, redevelopment. Mr Wood has already alluded to the additional $1.7 million in funding for the extra space. There will be new facilities and extra space. The facilities will be entirely