Page 4185 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.20), in reply: I thank members for their support of this important bill today, the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Amendment Bill. The purpose of the bill is to make a number of important changes to ensure that the portable schemes keep pace with changing circumstances.
The bill does not implement any material policy change but ensures the authority can continue to effectively administer its schemes. In particular, the bill ensures labour hire arrangements are captured for each of the portable schemes, confirms that repair work is part of the building and construction industry, ensures that apprentices working through registered training organisations must be registered for their portable scheme, clarifies that workers who directly supervise building and construction work should be registered for the relevant building and construction scheme and provides more detail about what is ordinary remuneration, to assist employers with their obligations.
The Labor government is proud of its record in providing for portable long service leave since the first building and construction scheme was implemented in 1981. The Labor government has extended the application of portable long service leave to the cleaning sector, the contract cleaning sector and the community sector, as well as to security industries. These provisions provide for protection of long service leave entitlements for workers in industries which are characterised by short-term employment and contract work, high levels of mobility and a high degree of part-time and casual employment.
There is no doubt that workers who work in these industries in the ACT—cleaners, security guards, building workers and a range of other employees—are often in very vulnerable circumstances. They rely on the contract work provided by their employers and the fact that contract work often changes on the part of those employers. Yet individuals, such as a cleaner or a security guard, can end up working, often in the same facility, for many years under different contractual arrangements with different employers. It might be a security guard in a government building who has worked for multiple employers on the same site for an extended period. It might be a cleaner who has been cleaning the same school, often perhaps for 15 or 20 years but often under a multitude of different employers and different contracts.
In any other industry, their long service would accrue to long service leave but without a portable scheme, of course, that would terminate with the conclusion of each employer’s contract with the relevant premises. The provision of the portable scheme provides for that continuity of long service to be recognised and paid out accordingly when the relevant time periods are met, ensuring that low-paid workers in these industries still gain access to long service leave—an important provision when it comes to time with their families, time to pursue other interests in their lives and still have security of income recognising long periods of service.
This is the type of scheme that this Labor government is proud to be advancing. The changes today ensure that the authority can continue to administer the different