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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2925 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

I think it is worth making the point that the performance of our public hospitals is outstanding when it comes to meeting those clinically appropriate times. Compared with any other jurisdiction, we have a very strong record indeed, but where we lag and where I have publicly accepted that we need to do better is in categories two and three. That is why the government is spending additional money in our public hospitals-an additional $2 million a year, $8 million over the next four years, fully budgeted for, that will ensure that an additional 600 Canberrans every year will get access to surgery. That is on top of the 4,000 or so Canberrans who already access elective surgery every year.

Mrs Cross: Are you going to take that supplementary question on notice, Simon?

MR CORBELL: I have just said that, Helen.

Cleaning industry

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the minister for education, Ms Gallagher. Could I just preface this question by saying that I do hope the government could answer this question of concern without their arrogant laughing, which has characterised the day so far. See if you can try it for size; see if you can take it seriously. Can you be serious?

MR SPEAKER: Order! If you want to raise a point of order, please do so. But try not to include it as part of your question. Come to the question, please.

MR PRATT: I do look for a serious response from a government supposedly seriously concerned. Mr Speaker, my question to Ms Gallagher is this: the Canberra Times of 11 August reported that the cleaners union had accused you of dragging your feet on approving the code of best employment practice, which has already been endorsed by the cleaning industry. All of the other members of a special task force have agreed on the code.

Why have you been dragging your feet on approving this code of best practice which would improve standards of school hygiene and protect low-paid and vulnerable workers?

MS GALLAGHER: Obviously, last night wasn't enough for Mr Pratt. We need you on this side, Steve. The workers' friend continues. It's the most progressive IR agenda I've seen coming out of any Liberal government around Australia, I have to say. I welcome your support on these matters. I'll do IR AO2 because I did AO1 last night. We'll move on to the next level of competency in this.

The code of best practice is, essentially, an enterprise bargaining agreement. What the LHMU want this government to agree to is that we require that people wanting to win contracts to clean government schools must enter into a certified agreement with the LHMU; that we require a third party to negotiate a union agreement before this government will give them work. It would also require us to ensure that, if you were going to get business in our government schools, you hand out union information, membership forms and other information relating to the union, Mr Pratt.

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