Page 4134 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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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) (10.05): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Members will recall that only last month this Assembly debated the passage of the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Act 2009. That act continued a range of improvements being currently undertaken in the area of long service leave management and administration in the ACT, and also provided the vehicle for the integration of further industry-specific schemes into the administrative fold of the authority.

During that debate I also foreshadowed that, as minister responsible for long service leave, it would be my great pleasure to soon present to this Assembly, on behalf of the Minister for Community Services, legislation to provide for a portable long service leave scheme for the community and childcare sectors. I acknowledge the work done by members of the Greens party who have been dealing with and talking to people in the community sector about this particular initiative. I thank them very much for that.

Mr Speaker, the time has arrived. The Long Service Leave (Community Sector) Amendment Bill amends the act by including a schedule specific to the community services sector to establish a mandatory portable long service leave scheme for its workers and employer organisations.

This bill is consistent with a key recommendation made by the ACT community sector task force in its 2006 report for the ACT government to legislate a mandatory portable long service leave scheme for the sector.

The bill defines the ACT community sector consistently with the definition in the national classification of community services. The schedule created by the bill sets long service leave entitlements for eligible employees at a fixed rate of leave for every year of service up to five years employment in the sector. It describes the contribution that is required by employers to cover workers’ entitlement for their ongoing service.

The scheme will be administered by the new amalgamated Long Service Leave Authority. The authority estimates the scheme’s establishment costs as a one-off cost of $350,000. An actuary study to identify the cost of the scheme was undertaken and found that these establishment costs “should adequately cover the costs of both the basic benefit and ongoing administration of the scheme”.

Driving the development of this particular scheme is the government’s recognition of the increasing demand placed on the community sector’s services, and the impacts this has on its workforce. The scheme will support community sector workers in a number of ways. It will protect the basic entitlement to long service leave for all community sector workers, even where this is accrued by service to multiple

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