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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 489 ..

MADAM SPEAKER: No, this is not a point of order. This is a question of me, and I have no ministerial responsibility for sport in the ACT.

Industrial relations—long service leave

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations. Minister, can you inform the Assembly about the portable long service leave scheme in the territory?

MADAM SPEAKER: I am sorry, I was distracted. Can you ask the question again, please, Ms Porter?

MS PORTER: Minister, can you inform the Assembly about the portable long service scheme in the territory?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Porter for her question and her interest in workplace rights in the territory. As this Assembly may be aware, the long service leave scheme originated in the 1860s as an entitlement for public servants to allow them to go home to Britain after spending 10 years working in the colony. It has moved on, well in advance of that time, as Australia’s workforce has grown and matured. Long service leave has matured into a basic employment entitlement for all Australian workers, and the ACT government supports this entitlement.

Notwithstanding the outstanding success the long service leave program has been for workers in Australia, there has been a need to make adjustments to reflect the changing nature of the Australian workforce and employment arrangements. Many Australian workers are now in casual and contract employment rather than long-term, permanent employment.

Traditionally, workers are required to work for the one employer for about 10 years before being eligible for long service leave. While this may have been appropriate in the past, what it does not recognise is the changing work environment in contemporary Australia. Many workers these days remain in the same industry for long periods of time but, because of the nature of their industry, move from employer to employer as new employment and career development opportunities arise. It is these workers which the portable long service leave scheme seeks to capture and ensure that they are entitled to the same provisions as everybody else in the workforce.

There has been a portable long service leave scheme in existence since 1981. It commenced with the building and construction industry. In 2000, the contract cleaning industry was added, followed by the community sector industry in 2010 and, most recently, the contract security industry in 2013. Presently there are 2,033 employers and 26,400 workers registered with the ACT authority on the quarterly returns.

The scheme is administered by the ACT Long Service Leave Authority, which is an independent ACT statutory authority. The authority is self-funding and therefore does not rely on the ACT government for an appropriation of funds from its budget for support.

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