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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4231 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

here it quotes a 1999 research paper prepared by those great advocates for employees rights, the WA coalition government at the time and the federal Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business-

moving away from prescriptive approaches in the determination of working arrangements such as long service leave can enable employees to have better access to their entitlements; to have more of a say at work; to have their interests catered for in more flexible work arrangements; and to be better rewarded for their particular efforts and skills. Freeing up traditional restrictions on long service leave entitlements will have benefits for those employees who are eligible for it, as well as their employers, in the same way that the introduction in the application and use of annual and sick leave arrangements has benefited those in the workplace, and in turn the economy overall.

If I understand this correctly, the underlying proposition appears to be that greater flexibility brings greater benefits to employees. My view is, however, that in many cases employees who are not in a strong bargaining position suffer from too much flexibility. In a society which is driving the employed harder and harder and trading off conditions against income time and time again, this is an unhealthy and undesirable trend.

We will be supporting this motion.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: The government's intention is very clear. The government, in accordance with its election commitment, will introduce portability provisions for all private sector workers in the ACT. It is a clear election commitment by the government and a commitment the government stands by.

It will be done in very close consultation with employers, employees and the unions that represent employees. It is extremely important from the government's perspective that the benefits of such proposals be well understood by the community as we move forward on these issues. We believe that we can achieve the best possible result for workers, and indeed the best possible level of industry support on these matters through such an approach, recognising that we perhaps will not achieve complete industry support, .

The first stage of the government's approach will be the release of a discussion paper early next year. This will enable informed community discussion on the issues surrounding portability of long service leave provisions. Further, Mr Speaker, the government will consider the matters you have raised, along with the matters raised by other members, from both within and outside the government, in this debate. Then the government will move to introduce legislation to address this matter comprehensively.

Mr Speaker, I am sure that I speak for all members when I say I look forward to your continuing cooperation and that of all other members as we move forward on this very important reform.

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