Page 2919 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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Thursday, 25 June 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Bill 2009

Mr Hargreaves, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, it has been a long-held desire by this government and the long service leave authorities that they merge and amalgamate the common functions of the schemes, including financial and annual reporting and the appointments to and operation of the governing board.

The Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Bill 2009 does this by providing better outcomes for members by achieving administrative savings while at the same time maintaining the individual integrity of specific industry funds. Currently, two separate legislative entities, the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Authority and the Cleaning Industry Long Service Leave Authority, under the direction of two separate governing boards oversee the administration of existing portable long service leave schemes in the ACT. However, the day-to-day operational management of both authorities is undertaken by the same small team of dedicated management and staff operating from premises in Campbell.

This new bill will result in the integration of the two existing authorities under one board, through one piece of legislation, with separate schedules detailing the attributes and entitlements relating to each specific scheme. The new board structure reflects the immediate need to bring the two boards together. However, the government is aware of the need to plan for the future with the proposed introduction of a community sector scheme planned for later this year. The board construct will need to be revisited at that time so as to improve capacity and better equip the new authority to respond to the challenges of the future.

The bank accounts, investment funds and other resources of each scheme will, however, remain separately identified and accountable under this new legislation. In this way workers’ service and entitlements to long service leave will continue to be separately recorded, accounted for and protected within the new integrated ACT Portable Long Service Leave Authority.

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