Page 4135 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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organisations, similar to government workers’ entitlements to long service leave even if accrued by service to multiple government agencies. The scheme acknowledges loyalty to the sector rather than just one organisation, thus enhancing mobility and facilitating the creation of a sustainable career path.

The proposed scheme is strongly supported by unions and employees as an appropriate strengthening of workers’ entitlements in the sector. During the consultation process, broad support was expressed for implementing a scheme that was mandatory, and one that is broadly defined. This legislation reflects this call for broad application.

The scheme will cover community sector and childcare sector workers. The scheme will be applied across different organisational structures, for profit and not for profit, and in both community and private sectors. It will also be made available across different working arrangements, including full time, part time, casual and short tenure arrangements such as contracting. Under the legislation, the scheme will include organisations whose funding sources can include the ACT and the commonwealth government.

The ACT government is committed to implementing the scheme in the best interests of the community services sector and its employees. A primary focus for the introduction of this scheme is to promote loyalty of employees to this sector, which I anticipate will in turn lead to a more sustainable sector.

I expect that the scheme will also assist in the development of more career options for community sector workers and, by helping to facilitate movement between organisations, potentially provide more variety in work and greater prospects for promotion. The scheme will assist workers to optimise their work-life balance by enabling them to take breaks between positions while retaining their attachment to the sector. In these many varied ways, I expect that this scheme will support the community sector in retaining a skilled workforce that fosters a more sustainable community sector in the ACT.

As part of the government’s integrated approach to support sector viability, the introduction of the scheme is being augmented by the government’s industrial relations review of the community sector. The purpose of this review is to identify current wages and conditions of community sector workers and provide industrial relations advice to the sector. The outcome of the review is intended to work in concert with associated reforms, including the community services sector scheme.

I would like to express my appreciation to the staff of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, particularly those in the community services element of the agency, for their assistance and dedication in bringing this forward. I would also like to say a big thank you to the Office of Industrial Relations—to Louise Gilding, John Rees, Meg Brighton and Robert Gotts—and to other people like Jodie. Thank you very much for your work; it has been fantastic.

The bill proposes that the scheme will commence on 1 July 2010. I commend the Long Service Leave (Community Sector) Amendment Bill 2009 to the Assembly.

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