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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3084 ..

MRS DUNNE: Minister, can you rule out that none of these employees will lose their positions or have their hours cut back as a result of the increased cost to community groups as a result of the long service leave scheme and their subsequent admitted and recognised reduction in cash flow?

MS BURCH: It comes as no surprise to me that Mrs Dunne, on a day that we should be celebrating workers owning their entitlement, continues to spread alarm. I acknowledge the work of the minister who had carriage of this development for some time before the implementation.

The portable long service cost to organisations is 1.67 per cent. The cost to organisations to put aside entitlements for long service leave is 1.6 per cent. It balances out, Mrs Dunne. I just do not understand why you do not understand that the entitlement is for the workers and employers should be putting aside this entitlement for the workers.

It is accepted that when the workers left before they were able to claim their entitlements, organisations had cash managed and kept that cost. I do not think, now that we have this portable leave in, that we should begrudge the benefit for the workforce in any way, shape or form.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Thanks, Mr Speaker. Minister, how do you reconcile the answer you have just given with the evidence to the estimates committee by the head of the Long Service Leave Authority that this measure will have an impact on the cash flow of community sector organisations?

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her interest in portable long service leave and had she joined the childcare and community sector workforce in celebrating—and we also celebrated today the 10th anniversary of the portable long service leave scheme in the cleaning industry. So it does work.

Ms Gallagher: Ten years?

MS BURCH: Ten years. So there are workers in the cleaning industry that are now celebrating 10 years of portable long service leave. Mrs Dunne, if you had been there, you would have had the opportunity to again talk to Mr Collins, who was there with us as we celebrated 10 years of the cleaning industry portable long service leave, and indeed the introduction of portable long service leave for the childcare and community sector.

As I have said, the entitlement cost and the portable long service leave cost are the same. Organisations now have to put that money into the authority and are not able to hold that as a cash managed benefit. That is something for an organisation to manage. It should not come out of the entitlement of the workers.

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