Page 513 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 21 February 2018
deserve a good break, time to spend with their families and to dedicate to other pursuits outside their day-to-day jobs.
These kinds of decisions put some of the Canberra Liberals’ other rhetoric in perspective, such as the motion this morning where Mrs Jones claimed to care about the hours worked by the Ambulance Service, because when it comes to actually voting on measures that support working people—actual, real, concrete measures such as legislation to ensure cleaners can accrue long service leave—the Canberra Liberals always end up seemingly opposing it. Why should cleaners have to work in the same job for 10 years doing hard work that is not highly paid and not be able to have long service leave?
The Greens support these kinds of initiatives. We have regularly promoted reforms and initiatives to promote fair workplace practices, worker safety and ethical procurement. Our 2012 parliamentary agreement with the ALP, for example, contained several items relating to workplace safety and ethical employment. It required an increase in proactive worksite investigations to ensure safety is adequate and to prevent sham contracting. The parliamentary agreement resulted in an active certification policy as well as improved budget funding for 12 new WorkSafe inspectors.
I will briefly discuss the issue of the MOU between unions and government and the secure local jobs package, which members will know has been recently released for consultation. These issues have been raised many times before in the Assembly and they continue to be misrepresented by the Canberra Liberals as part of a political campaign. The Liberal Party says the MOU gives UnionsACT a veto power. While that may be a convenient thing to say as part of a political campaign, it is an invention. There is no veto power. Every time the Canberra Liberals say there is a veto power they are also accusing the officials in ACT procurement of being unethical and of not doing their job and not following the law. They continue to make that attack on those officials, unjustifiably.
The MOU clearly says that it does not override any laws. It requires consultation with UnionsACT as part of the pre-qualification process and that is all. The same information is available to other parties. All those parties can provide information to procurement officials, which is actually a useful exercise, and they can then use that information in their decision-making process, which is done according to the law. As I have said in this place before when we have debated this topic, we have met with ACT procurement officials who have explained that this is how the process works and that they follow the laws of the territory and all the correct processes and procedures.
I have also said before that I do not think the MOU process is ideal. It is confusing for stakeholders. Sometimes some people have sought to make it confusing by the allegations they have made in this place, and I do not think it is the ideal way to enshrine good procurement practices. If we want to have best practice procurement we should put that into legislation, and that is what is being proposed now. I will be very clear up-front by saying we think that is a better approach. I think the transparency of bringing it to this place, putting it through this chamber, having it in