Page 1943 - Week 06 - Friday, 6 May 2005

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not going to release it because they do not want to, or they are not going to release it because they actually did not do it and, therefore, it blows a hole into the minister’s line that she has taken into account the interests of all the stakeholders. Then, of course, we have got the influx of seasonal workers.

It says on the second page of the minister’s speech that the financial impact on employers will be insignificant. Well, justify it, minister: table the business impact statement. I know the argument will be that they are doing it already and that they should be doing this and they should be doing that. But justify that your changes to this law today will have insignificant impact on the business community.

Ms Gallagher: You just answered it, Brendan; they are already doing it. They already have to make provision.

MR SMYTH: Well, you get up and make the case, minister, and then table the business impact statement. You get up and table it, minister.

Ms Gallagher: You answered it.


MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is about relevance, Mr Speaker; it is about being relevant in a modern world. It is not about creating a new Jerusalem. It should not be about looking after your union mates. It should be about looking after the entire community, and building a more sustainable Canberra. And it should be about making sure that you have got the primary settings right, which we clearly have not got. It is quite clear that the Labor Party reforms are failing—hence we are in deficit—and we believe that these changes at this stage are not appropriate, so we will be opposing the bill.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (9.53): The Act Greens support the Long Service Leave Amendment Bill and the proposed government amendments. I think it is appropriate to reduce the time of service before one is entitled to long service leave from 10 years to seven years. This reflects the changing nature of our workplaces, with more part-time, casual, and more varied and shorter work contracts. I also support private sector workers having comparable entitlements to public sector workers.

Long service leave is an important workers right. It gives workers a substantial break, it is a reward for continued service with an employer, and it is an incentive that helps reduce staff turnover. Long service leave can also be an important opportunity for workers to spend time with their families. Many, of course, use it to extend their education by travel or study. I have observed in areas where I have worked, but focusing particularly on teaching, the necessity for employees to take a break, a decent break, at reasonable intervals. Burnout is a real danger in many jobs, and in professions like teaching the effects are felt broadly, not just by the person involved but also by students, colleagues and the teacher’s family.

I also support the changes that mean that seasonal work or breaks in work caused by external market factors do not constitute a break in service and hence some seasonal and casual workers may now be eligible for long service leave. Many of them are juggling

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