Page 2316 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 16 June 2009
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is for the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and it concerns the application recently made to wind up the company Aussie Junk. What action is the government now going to take regarding the ACT NOWaste contract with Aussie Junk to manage the reusable facilities at the resource management centres and how are you going to ensure that there is no interruption in these recycling centres?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. Certainly, as everybody is aware, as a result of an inquiry by the Workplace Ombudsman, certain concerns have been raised in relation to some workplace practices employed by Aussie Junk, particularly in relation to employee entitlements. These are matters that at one level are still being agitated. They are matters that still involve legal process. And at one level there are aspects of this that I do not believe it appropriate for me to pursue publicly.
Aussie Junk is a provider of services to Thiess, the head contractor in relation to the management of the reusable facility or the recycling facilities at Mitchell. TAMS does, however, have a direct contract with Aussie Junk, including the management of the reusable or recyclable facility at Mugga. It does need to be understood that the contractual arrangements in relation to Aussie Junk do vary or are different as between the two waste sites.
The investigation that was undertaken by the Workplace Ombudsman relates specifically to the Mitchell depot and did not extend to work practices at Mugga. It is important to understand that difference or distinction. In relation to the inquiry, TAMS, of course, cooperated quite fully. It has made some findings and certainly recommendations that are of significant concern in relation to those employees and those workplace practices.
Additional action is now being pursued in relation to Aussie Junk and it will have quite significant potential implications, of course, for recycling facilities and our capacity to ensure that the transfer of responsibility—if any transfer, indeed, is undertaken—is seamless and that our services are not interrupted.
Contingency discussions in relation to that are occurring, most particularly between TAMS, waste and Thiess. It does need to be understood that there are different levels of responsibility and different contractual arrangements. We of course have arrangements with Thiess and we are in essentially what I might term contingency discussions with Thiess in relation to the maintenance, perhaps in an interim or transitional sense, to ensure that our recycling activity is maintained.
I am not sure that there is much more I can say. Of course, Ms Le Couteur, it is an issue in relation to which we are acutely aware of the need to ensure that we maintain the capacity to recycle at the level that we have or at an enhanced level. We are in some discussions already to cover the difficulties which we anticipate as a result of the findings of the Workplace Ombudsman in relation to Aussie Junk. And I will be