Page 1252 - Week 04 - Thursday, 7 April 2016

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Mr Wall interjecting—

MR GENTLEMAN: I want to engage a little on some of the comments that Mr Smyth made, particularly around the aged care sector and workforce stability.

It certainly is the fact that there is quite a number of people who stay in the sector for a long time. The issue is that it is not the employer groups that stay in the sector for a long time. What we see is employer groups working in employing people to look after our old and vulnerable people in the aged care sector for a number of years and then shutting up shop, selling off to another group and the employees have to start all over again. It is an important reform in this sector. It is an important opportunity to protect those most vulnerable workers on the lowest incomes in the territory looking after our most vulnerable people.

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (10.48): I would like to say a few words on this as a former nurse. I think that I am the only person in this place that has actually worked in the aged care sector. To think that we would not be doing anything and everything to support those working in the aged care sector, some of the lowest paid in our community doing some of the toughest work in our community, is really quite disappointing.

The minister has made an absolute commitment to continue to work with the peak bodies on this. But to think that the peak bodies would not, in and of themselves, want to have respect and regard for their workforce to allow them to have their due entitlements as they move through the sector over the course of their career is disappointing. As the minister has indicated, the government will not be supporting the referral to PAC.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.49), in reply: I would like to speak to a couple of issues. The minister says we gave him no notice. As Mr Wall said, we cannot know what we do not know. We had no idea of what was in this bill. The first official notice we had of this bill was the draft program that comes after cabinet late on Monday afternoon.

At the government business meeting last week Minister Gentleman made the point that the Planning and Development (Efficiencies) Amendment Bill would be coming on later today and that if Mr Coe wanted a briefing he could arrange that. He did not make a single mention of this bill. It is only when we see the bill, which has just occurred—I have had only a quick glance through it and listened to the speech—that I can actually formulate whether we have a position. Are we broadly in favour? Are we against? Do we have concerns or do we not?

It is a bit rich to say that nobody spoke to the minister. It is kind of hard to read the minister’s mind. We are not here knowing everything that the government is going to do. If the minister wants to take that approach, perhaps he should be a little more courteous and say, “We are going to bring this bill on and we want to push through with it.” Or, “Here is a bill that might be a bit contentious; perhaps you would like to look at it a bit earlier.”

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