Page 233 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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unfair bargaining tactics were used against a party to the contract; whether the contract provides for remuneration at a rate that is, or is likely to be, less than the rate of remuneration for an employee performing similar work; whether the contract is designed to avoid minimum standards established under federal awards or under standards established by the tribunal itself; whether any action was taken by a party to the contract to mitigate the alleged unfairness; and whether the contract is against the public interest.

If the tribunal decides that the contract is unfair, it can make a variety of orders, including varying the contract and substituting new terms that are fair, deleting contract clauses, or setting aside the contract entirely. The tribunal could also order that the principal pay compensation to the contractor. The tribunal’s orders would be enforceable by the Magistrates Court.

In the economic white paper, the government has made a clear statement that it will encourage and develop profitable and sustainable businesses in the ACT. The government is not interested in building an economy based on low wages, with large powerful businesses abusing their market power to drive unfair outcomes. The Fair Work Contracts Bill will ensure that small businesses, as well as the growing number of contract workers, have access to inexpensive, flexible and enforceable protection against unfair contract terms.

The government realises that there has been limited opportunity for external stakeholders to consider this important legislation and is committed to consulting widely before moving to debate on the bill in this chamber. The government is interested in oral and written submissions from interested parties and will be scheduling meetings with key industry, employer and employee stakeholders for January 2005. I ask the Assembly to note the Fair Work Contracts Bill 2004 and the explanatory statement to the bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy) adjourned to the next sitting.

Annual reports—2003-2004

Referral to standing committees

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.33): I move:

That the resolution of the Assembly of 7 December 2004 referring annual reports to the relevant standing committees be amended by in column 1, entitled “Standing Committee”:

(1) omitting the word “Health” and substituting “Health and Disability”; and

(2) omitting the word “Education” and substituting “Education, Training and Young People”.

Members, this is only a minor change. When the Assembly resolved on Tuesday to refer relevant annual reports to the relevant standing committees of the Assembly, the formal titles of two of the committees in the schedule were incorrect. This amendment corrects that.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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