Page 3830 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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Finally, the bill amends existing provisions of the Animal Diseases Act to ensure that authorised officers can take enforcement action in relation to bees. The bill and the amendments it introduces to the Animal Diseases Act is an important platform in our response to a bee biosecurity incident or risk. It is part of a national response and fulfils our obligations to other Australian jurisdictions as expressed in national biosecurity agreements. It fills a gap that was left when the Apiaries Act was repealed in 1997. It creates a registration scheme that is modest in what it seeks to achieve, having the bare minimum impact on beekeeping in the territory, but enough to ensure that we can respond quickly and efficiently to a bee biosecurity incident.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to the next sitting.

Holidays Amendment Bill 2015

Mr Gentleman, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (11.19): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Holidays Act 1958 does not currently provide for a public holiday on Easter Sunday, even though Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday are public holidays. This is largely because the origins of our current public holiday laws predate the liberalisation of Sunday trading. Consequently, when our public holiday arrangements were legislated it was commonly assumed that business would be not conducted on a Sunday.

The lack of an Easter Sunday public holiday frustrates the opportunity for some workers to take the four-day long weekend enjoyed by the wider community and denies them the appropriate recompense.

Legislating to make Easter Sunday a public holiday in the ACT responds to stakeholder views that Easter is a significant and protracted holiday period akin to Christmas and new year. Community expectations are that it is important as a public holiday and as an entitlement to be afforded to those who work during these periods. Workers required to work on Easter Sunday are not currently entitled to public holiday penalty rates and are not able to exercise their right under the national employment standards to reasonably refuse to work. Easter Sunday is a significant time of family celebrations; a period where families have the time to come together across the extended long weekend and reconnect and participate in family and community activities.

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