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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1607 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

workers and the Commonwealth 56,000, leaving around 100,000 workers in the private sector. For workers in the public sector, long service leave is an important employment condition. Not only are they entitled to 12 weeks long service leave after 10 years service, but also the condition is portable. Public sector workers carry their entitlements with them across ACT departments and agencies, between the ACT and Commonwealth public sectors and even from other states and the Northern Territory.

An examination of the ACT public sector management standards on long service leave portability for ACT public servants will show that the list of public service departments and agencies across the country extends to 799, as well as every school, university and hospital in the country. The list includes zoos, railways, banks, quarries, art galleries, TABs, bus and rail systems, film corporations, state rifle associations, local government and airlines. The Commonwealth list is simpler and extends long service leave portability to any employee of a state or territory or an agency of a state or territory. Now, that's portability!

To illustrate the disadvantage of private sector workers, take a public sector worker who starts work as a labourer, moves to a clerical position and then goes on to a position with another state or territory before coming back to the Commonwealth. This worker has all this service counted as long service leave. A cleaner in a shopping centre who gets a retail job in a shop in the centre, moves to a clerical job in some professional suites and then to a managerial position in a shop does not accumulate long service leave for all of those jobs.

Long service leave in the building and construction industry and contract cleaning industry is not so generous in its portability. For workers in these industries, portability extends across employers in the single industry. Of the two schemes, the building and construction industry scheme is more longstanding. It has been in place in the ACT since 1981. I remember the struggle to get that portability, as I alluded to just a moment ago.

It is a national scheme, with building and construction workers carrying their entitlement with them when they move interstate. Over the time that scheme has been in place the building industry has not suffered, as was often predicted, but has grown. Employers have seen the benefits of a level playing field in tendering. They all pay the same rate to cover their employees for long service leave, so they cannot be undercut by less scrupulous employers.

Employees in the industry have seen the benefit of earning long service leave credits while they work on a number of jobs for different employers, even in different states. They have also seen their entitlements increase because of the growth of the fund. Their entitlements have been protected against bankruptcy, so the taxpayers and the travelling public have not had to foot the bill when companies have failed, as they did for workers hit by the failures that I mentioned earlier-Ansett, National Textiles and the Woodlawn mine. My efforts on behalf of workers in the contract cleaning industry in 1999 have paid off, with their fund now up and running and their entitlements protected, and the contract cleaning industry has not failed because of this scheme.

The success of the contract cleaning legislation led me to have discussions with a range of unions covering private sector workers. They all had examples of workers

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