Page 2886 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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At present, the Dangerous Substances Act specifically requires the review to include the effectiveness of the act in regulating the supply of fireworks in the ACT and the social and environmental effects in the ACT and elsewhere of the use of fireworks supplied in or from the ACT. The proposed amendments also delete those assessments being stipulated in legislation. Since the government already conducts an annual comprehensive review of fireworks regulation after every Queen’s Birthday long weekend, the opposition sees no reason for that work also to be required by legislation. The annual review happens anyway. However, again I would welcome the minister’s assurance that the effectiveness of regulating the supply of fireworks will be reviewed.

The Long Service Leave Act requires that an employee have a continuous period of service with one employer. However, when calculating an employee’s period of service, several interruptions are deemed not to break continuity of service. These include interruptions due to events such as an industrial dispute provided the employee returns to the employer in accordance with the terms of settlement of the dispute; injury in the course of employment; and termination of service by the employer provided the employee returns to the employer’s service within two months. These and other interruptions are not included in calculating the total period of service but they do not break continuity of service.

The long service leave amendments correct anomalies that had the unintended effect of breaking continuity of service for members of the defence forces and for people temporarily employed outside the ACT. They clarify that employees who undertake military service and employees working temporarily outside the ACT retain continuity of service. I congratulate in particular the Housing Industry Association for identifying the problems with the long service leave legislation as it applied to some defence force employees and employees working temporarily outside the ACT. I am advised that the HIA alerted the minister, and as a consequence the minister has responded with these amendments, which we support.

We had some initial concerns about the amendments to the review arrangements, but if the minister is prepared to assure the Assembly that the impact of the 2004 amendments, union right of entry under the OH&S Act and fireworks under the Dangerous Substances Act will be reviewed, I submit to the Assembly that nothing is lost. Finally, I commend and thank the minister for making her officers available to provide briefings to my office and to answer questions about the legislation and related matters.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.12): I will be opposing this bill. I understand very clearly that the occupational health and safety legislation passed by the Assembly last year which, among other things, gave unions and occupational health and safety representatives the right to enter workplaces, and the Dangerous Substances Act passed earlier in 2004, which incorporated new regulations to govern the sale and use of retail fireworks, work closely together.

I can understand the arguments the government has put to justify this bill, which rolls the two proposed specific and independent reviews of this complementary legislation together into the one generic and internal process. However, for the government to do this at what was to be the drop of a hat is a betrayal of the process that it engaged in in

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