Page 4539 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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All of these amendments will improve, update and clarify the territory’s statute book. This bill demonstrates the government’s ability to regularly monitor the administration of the territory’s laws, and to respond effectively to any concerns that may arise. Support for the latest Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill is support for continuous improvement in the territory statute book, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Holidays (Family and Community Day) Amendment 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) (10.53): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, as a result of Work Choices, awards could not contain clauses providing for a union picnic day holiday and, additionally, the public holiday provisions in the old commonwealth Workplace Relations Act clearly excluded a union picnic day holiday.

In 2006, UnionsACT requested that the ACT government consider ways to compensate workers who lost the benefit of a day off on a union picnic day. So in August 2006, community consultation was conducted about both Canberra Day and the possibility of an additional public holiday. Approximately 140 submissions were received that indicated a majority of support for an additional public holiday on the first Tuesday in November.

Therein lies the birth of what we all have come to know and love as the Family and Community Day public holiday. That said, Mr Speaker, in May 2008 the government committed to a review of the purpose and future of the Family and Community Day following the repeal of the Work Choices industrial relations system and after public consultation had been undertaken.

The government undertook a six-week public consultation process between Friday, 17 April and Friday, 29 May this year using the ACT community noticeboard as well as letters to business and employee representative peak bodies seeking their views.

There were in excess of 1,100 submissions received from organisations and members of the public at the conclusion of the public consultative process. Of the 1,100 responses, 47 per cent chose to replace Family and Community Day with a permanent new public holiday, possibly on a different date, with a strong ACT connotation. Of those 1,100 responses, nearly 21 per cent indicated that they would prefer a day focused on Floriade or the commencement of spring.

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