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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4381 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Further, the government wanted to ensure that there would be no unintended consequences, possibly many years into the future, resulting from a time gap between the establishment of the authority and the passing of these amendments. I would consider it unacceptable that an employee might lose all or part of an entitlement as a result of this bill. For this reason, the government proposes that the effect of these amendments applies from the commencement of the legislation in 2001. This will provide all employees with a clear period of continuous service as public servants.

The government is nevertheless aware that circumstances change and at some point in time it may be in the best interest of the ACTION authority and its workers to be employed under different arrangements, more suited to the direct business needs of ACTION at the time. For this reason, the amendments have retained a similar provision to that in the existing legislation, allowing management and staff to opt out of this arrangement by means of an improved industry agreement. Such an agreement would be the trigger for the minister at the time to declare that staff were no longer employed under the Public Sector Management Act. Having the requirement that the minister make such a declaration as a disallowable instrument means that the process will be transparent and accountable.

Finally, to achieve the government's intention, the amendment bill contains a number of provisions that ensure that any actions taken since the commencement of the act do not prejudice the basic intent to have employees covered under the Public Sector Management Act. I welcome the fact that the legislation will ensure that ACTION employees will not be in a position where they might inadvertently lose some of their entitlements. I also welcome the fact that the bill will provide more certainty in employment arrangements at ACTION, which will be to the benefit of both the authority and its employees.

Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2002

Mr Corbell , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, today I am bringing forward a bill which addresses the most serious of issues in the territory's workplaces; that is, the death of a worker caused by employer negligence or recklessness.

The objective of the Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill is to reinforce the important duties employers have to provide safe and healthy workplaces, and to ensure that employers who fail to meet these duties are held accountable if a worker dies.

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