Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Fair Work Amendment (Transfer of Business) Bill 2012; Consideration of Senate Message
That the amendments be agreed to.
I thank all members and senators for their contribution during the debates on the Fair Work Amendment (Transfer of Business) Bill 2012. In particular, I want to acknowledge the important contributions of those who are supporting this important legislation. The bill delivers on the government's commitment to introduce legislation to extend the existing transfer-of-business protections in the Fair Work Act 2009 to certain former state public sector employees who transition into the national system as a result of transfer of business. We on this side of the House do not accept that these employees should be worse off or that they should have their entitlements put at risk simply because their employer changes or as a result of an outsourcing of work or an asset sale but where their work remains the same.
The Senate has passed minor amendments to the bill—which was originally considered by the House of Representatives—which were proposed by the government. Those amendments are designed to ensure that the bill clearly operates as intended and to better align the proposed provisions with the existing transfer-of-business provisions in the Fair Work Act. The amendments deal with more closely aligning Fair Work Australia's powers to make orders with those already in the Fair Work Act; further clarifying coverage of the bill to certain former state public sector employees to make clear that it does not include local government, which reflects the intended coverage and application of the bill as I announced in September; ensuring that the general protections provisions are reflected in respect of transfers under this bill; and consequential amendments which deal with cross-referencing and numbering. The amendments are designed to ensure that the legislation is as clear as possible in its scope and operation.
This government respects the work of the 1.7 million public sector workers around Australia. We cannot stand idly by and condone public servants in some states receiving fewer protections when they transition into the national system as a result of the transfer of business than those from other jurisdictions who already have the benefit of these protections. I commend the bill to the House.
Question agreed to.