Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 512 ..
employment practices. When unions advise us to avoid a shonky company, we will ensure that we get what we are paying for and that our constituents are not ripped off or, worse still, injured or killed at work. A company willing to rip off their own staff will no doubt be happy to rip off the taxpayer too, and we should have nothing to do with them.
With a procurement code in legislation we can advance that cause. Noting that we have a federal Liberal government trying to impose theft as a norm in construction, cleaning, security, transport and other vulnerable industries, we must do all we can to stand up against crooks.
In the consultation, I urge the government to recognise that workers’ safety is of paramount importance. Everyone deserves to go to work and come home safely. A local procurement code will make sure that there is a level playing field and all workers get treated with the respect and honesty they deserve. If we fail to keep workers who are employed on government projects safe, each member here should feel the shame and guilt of their culpability.
Allowing contractors who cut corners on safety onto projects does not just steal from our budget or from the worker’s pocket; it can leave local constituents disabled or worse. This damages partners, it damages families and it damages communities. A local procurement code will deliver fairness and transparency for local businesses. I commend the code, the consultation and this motion to Assembly.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (3.42): The Greens do support this motion because we support the right of workers to be paid properly, to be treated fairly and to work in safety. We support strong measures to prevent the exploitation of workers, to prevent unsafe practices and to stop employers avoiding the obligations they owe to their workers. We support transparency in ACT government contracts. We also support laws and practices which ensure the ACT government is a model employer and that it engages in ethical and sustainable procurement. There is a lot of work we can do in this space as a government, and my colleague, Ms Le Couteur, has some further remarks to add on this a little later in the debate, assuming that the opposition participates and the debate actually keeps going.
These issues of worker health and safety and worker rights are issues that come up regularly in this Assembly, and they always highlight a point of difference between the political parties in this place. Over the years it has become clear that the Liberal Party are not of the same view when it comes to supporting workers and they repeatedly oppose initiatives that support worker rights and worker health and safety. A few years ago, for example, the Canberra Liberals opposed the harmonised work health and safety regime in the ACT, a significant reform to improve health and safety for working people in the territory.
The Liberals also have repeatedly opposed portable long service leave for mobile industries such as security workers and cleaners. In fact, the Canberra Liberals have expressed a view that there should not be any long service leave at all, let alone portable long service leave. That would have been a really backward step for all the hardworking people in the ACT. Long service leave recognises that working people