Page 3262 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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government continues through its partnership with a number of tourism stakeholders in the business, education and leisure tourism sectors to grow our tourism sector. We have seen significant growth in recent times. Our long-term strategic plan for tourism is being developed and is aligned with the longer-term strategic goals for tourism in Australia.

We look forward to investing more to attract more business tourism to the territory and to provide assistance to the growing education tourism sector. It is disappointing that new measures to support growth in the tourism industry were not supported by the Canberra Liberals in the most recent budget.

ACT public service—background checks

MS LAWDER: My question is to the minister for industrial relations. Minister, the government announced this month that ACT government workers will have to pay for their own background checks as a result of the new working with vulnerable people laws. Minister, aside from the first check for staff engaged before November last year, why is the government requiring its workers to pay for their own checks? And where is the government at in its negotiations with the CPSU on this matter?

MADAM SPEAKER: I am getting the impression that this is not a question for the minister for industrial relations.

Ms Burch: If I may, it is one of those where CSD owns the policy framework and ORS actually does the checking process. I am happy to answer that question.


MS BURCH: The question goes to why public servants are asked to pay for the background working check. It is a reasonable proposition. This is a clearance that will allow them to have a card. That is transferable; it is attached to them. It is not attached to the job; it is attached to them. We are asking volunteers, who will not have a fee attached, but we are also asking for all our workers in the community sector to have a working with vulnerable people check and to cover that cost themselves. We think it is a fair and reasonable proposition.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Lawder

MS LAWDER: Minister, has the government forecast any rise in the fees for the checks?

MS BURCH: There is certainly nothing in front of me. There was some discussion when the early policy work was coming forward about whether it should be a three-year or a five-year period between checking. The significant response back from the community sector was for three years. So that is why we have accommodated three years. There is a $70 charge but that does not cover the full cost of actually going through the checking process.

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