Page 5320 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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MS BURCH: I am not quite sure if Mrs Dunne is saying that she knows of organisations that are indeed not fulfilling their obligations in making sure—

Mrs Dunne: No.

MS BURCH: Workers’ rights and entitlements are considered. Going back to the forum, it considered a range of workforce issues, including recruitment and retention, professional development, status and standing and sector development and capacity building, including portable long service leave. Portable long service leave is a cost, a liability, that every employer has, whether it is in the community sector, the public sector, a childcare centre or the local garage—an entitlement that is due to every worker. Portable long service leave is to benefit the sector through improving retention and the sustainability of the workforce.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson?

MR HANSON: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, given that childcare centres will now have to expense long service leave on a regular basis—perhaps fortnightly or monthly—without the opportunity to recover the money when an employee leaves before the entitlement is accrued, are you still sure that childcare fees will not increase?

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! I call Minister Burch. Minister Burch has the floor.

Mr Stanhope: What have you got against childcare?

MS BURCH: Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: He is your own colleague, Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: What I think the opposition is failing to understand is the sustainability, the retention of a workforce, the improvement of the capacity within the workforce. I have been an employer myself. I have managed organisations myself. This is clearly around portability, which is for the betterment of workers, the workers in the sector.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a further supplementary?

MR HANSON: Minister, what advice have you received from your department to assure you that childcare centres will not have to raise fees and will you table this advice?

MS BURCH: Again, it is based on the assumption that portable long service leave will increase childcare fees. We had this discussion yesterday. Childcare fees are the responsibility of the operator. We have, through the introduction and passage of portable long service leave, indicated transitional support across the sector.

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