Page 4186 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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portable schemes and provide clarity in their operation in respect of particular industries.

The government remains committed to its program to further extend portable long service to other industries. In particular, the government has committed to extending the contract cleaning industry’s portable scheme to cover workers in the waste industry. These workers often perform vital roles in our community. It is not the most glamorous role or the most attractive job but it is an important job. The workers in that industry deserve the dignity of protection of their long service leave entitlements.

The government has made commitments to implement reforms in this area, and a bill to implement this commitment will be introduced next year. So the government continues with its important reform agenda in the area of portable long service leave.

The changes being made today ensure that the schemes are able to be administered effectively. Of course, they build on the decisions taken by the government earlier this year to ensure that the interests of workers in the building industry and the provision of their long service leave entitlements are appropriately protected with a change to the levy rate on employers to ensure that all entitlements for workers in that scheme could be met.

We know just how important that is in the context of a slowdown in the local construction sector. With a slowdown in work in the local construction sector, many workers who have been successful in obtaining often long periods of employment at multiple jobs now find themselves in circumstances where it is harder to find work on a construction site because of the slowdown in the local sector.

It is precisely at this time that we see workers seeking to exercise their long service leave entitlements and therefore it is critical that the long service leave fund for the building and construction sector has sufficient funds to meet those entitlements. The decisions taken by the government guarantee that the provision is met and is consistent with the advice provided to the government and to me as the minister by the Long Service Leave Authority board and their actuaries.

The effective operation of portable long service leave is an important protection for workers, an important protection for many low-paid workers and workers who would otherwise be in a vulnerable position when it comes to continuity of their employment. It is another example of this government taking steps to protect those who are lowly paid, in vulnerable employment circumstances and often without an effective voice otherwise.

It is an important program, one we remain committed to, and one we remain committed to expanding to a range of other sectors. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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