Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 5 May 2016) . . Page.. 1590 ..
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (11.31): The government will not be supporting this motion. Pursuant to a resolution passed in the Assembly on 6 April regarding the memorandum of understanding, earlier this week I tabled documents that included a copy of the current MOU and a copy of the previous MOU signed by the then Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in 2005.
I also provided members with the following ACT government policy documents relating to the MOU: the ethical suppliers declaration; the pre-qualification guidelines for consultants and contractors; the industrial relations and employment obligations strategy for the ACT government for capital works projects, known as the IRE strategy; and the government’s active certification policy.
As members would be aware, employment legislation is administered at the federal level; so the ACT has no capacity legislatively in this regard. For this reason, the MOU was introduced to ensure that the ACT government contracts only with employers who treat their workers fairly and in accordance with the law.
As part of our public commitments prior to the 2004 election, the ACT Labor Party promised to pursue fair and safe workplace measures, including a continuation of reform of the ACT’s industrial relations system and improved procurement policies to ensure all work that is carried out on behalf of the ACT government maintained high workplace standards. As part of implementing this commitment, the ACT government then instituted a range of new procurement principles on ethical suppliers. We introduced the MOU on the procurement of works and services to provide a framework for consultation between the government and UnionsACT.
Consultation for the purposes of section 4.1 of the memorandum of understanding is conducted, as has been publicly discussed on numerous occasions, including before an Assembly committee in 2009, through a number of avenues. This includes providing lists of tenderers for ACT contracts and applicants for pre-qualification with UnionsACT, establishing contact officer functions in relation to matters covered by the MOU and through meetings with UnionsACT on particular issues.
It is worth noting in this context that there are regular consultation meetings under the MOU and that Procurement and Capital Works also holds regular scheduled meetings with industry stakeholders such as the Master Builders Association. As a consequence of the MOU, we formalised our government’s commitment, including enabling reasonable consultation to protect the rights of workers.
Existing compliance measures were strengthened and a more rigorous approach to protecting workers was adopted. This included the establishment of a tripartite committee comprising the ACT government, industry and unions, referred to as the procurement consultative committee, to ensure that the intentions of the MOU were properly embedded into procurement practices across government.