Page 4274 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013
What does the Fair Work Ombudsman say? There is a chronology in the report and a list of events and issues which led to the concerns over the accuracy of employee records including the employer’s publication of incorrect and potentially inflated leave balances on employee payslips for a period of more than two years. Two years, minister, and you could not fix it. Two years! Perhaps the sixth minister is required quite quickly Chief Minister, with the minister not being the minister of emergency services.
The report goes on to say that some steps were taken by the employer, but the actions did not successfully manage the potential consequences resulting from the continued publication of incorrect leave balances. So whatever little we did did not actually work, and the problem continued for two years. The Fair Work Ombudsman has found that the Justice and Community Safety Directorate contravened workplace laws relating to keeping accurate employee records and correcting those records as soon as the employer becomes aware of the error. They broke the law; they broke the law on a basic entitlement of workers, and they could not fix it for two years. As a consequence, there will be further inspections and, in the first instance, the Fair Work Ombudsman has issued a letter of caution.
It is very sad that workers in an ACT department have to go to the Fair Work Ombudsman to get some justice, because the minister cannot deliver the workplace that they deserve in the framework that best allows them to do their job. That is why we are asking the government to go back to what McLeod said, to go back to what Doogan said, to go back to what everybody acknowledges would be the best outcome for ESA—that is, the establishment of a statutory authority to manage emergency services in the ACT. I will just do a bit more of what the Fair Work Ombudsman said: the investigation disclosed the ACT government’s employment entity failed to comply with statutory record keeping procedures from 24 October 2008 until 16 August 2012. Failed for almost four years to comply with the law. They broke the law for four years, most of which, if not all, was under this minister. Prior to 1 July 2009 the ACT government employing entity contravened the Workplace Relations Regulations 2006 and after 1 July the ACT government employing entity contravened section 535 of Fair Work Act. They broke the law for almost four years.
It seems that by 28 August 2009 the employing entity was aware, but it continued until 16 August 2012. So for three years they could not fix it. This calls into question the ability of the employing entity to monitor and record records. The employing entity published leave balances on payslips from 28 August 2009 to 15 September 2011 that were incorrect. For two years the officers of the agency did not know what their balances were. These mistakes need to be fixed. The best way to fix them is to have a statutory authority that is run properly and correctly, and the best way to fix it is to replace this minister.
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) (11.53): I remain convinced that, should we ever suffer the fate of Mr Smyth becoming the minister for police and emergency services, he will end up running the comcen from his office. It is the sort of view he