Page 4182 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013
track that all the dire warnings about pain and chaos in the industries subject to these schemes have not played out. That scaremongering proved to not be the case.
The schemes are well managed by the Long Service Leave Authority board. It considers all the actuarial data in order to make recommendations of long service leave levies that are appropriate, and the levies in different industries are reviewed regularly. It is short sighted and unfair to not recognise that workers in these industries deserve long service leave but that the nature of the industry is that they would be denied it. I find it very surprising the Liberals took the position that people who work in building and construction or cleaning or security or the community sector should be denied long service leave. It is out of touch with what Canberra workers expect and what they deserve.
Returning to the substance of today’s bill, I note one amendment in particular—the bill amends section 7(2) to clarify that a person is an employer for the purpose of the act even when they are engaging in non-traditional employment relationships, for example, labour hire arrangements. These employers will still need to participate in the portable long service leave scheme. Labour hire describes an employment relationship where workers are hired temporarily, usually via some third party such as an agency or broker. It is common in industries covered by portable long service leave schemes. This makes sense, of course, as portable long service leave schemes assist employees in industries where it is common to move between companies in the same industry and where work can be fragmented.
Labour hire practices can be troubling in that they are often used to fill roles that should be permanent, meaning workers miss out on their rights and conditions. I know it remains a serious concern to the unions that represent workers in these industries. The amendment ensuring that employers must still participate in the portable long service scheme, even when engaged in labour hire, is a welcome clarification. The employer in these cases can be the actual employment agency. I hope the enforcement is adequate to ensure that all relevant employers participate in the scheme as they should and, indeed, that inappropriate employment arrangements are not occurring in ACT workplaces.
Several other changes have been made to the act which improve clarity and the administration of the scheme. I will not detail them, as Mr Corbell has touched on them and the explanatory statement also covers them. They have largely been recommended by the ACT Long Service Leave Authority. On that basis I am happy to support the bill today.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.12): It is with some pleasure that I rise to speak on this bill. This bill re-emphasises this government’s commitment to equality in the workplace. This bill ensures workers are not disadvantaged simply because they are part of a mobile workforce. The government’s commitment to a portable long service scheme ensures workers are not left behind.
The Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Amendment Bill 2013 makes sure our portable schemes keep pace with changing circumstances. This bill makes several small but significant amendments to the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Act