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Thursday, 31 October 1996
Page: 4939

Senator CHRIS EVANS(5.53 p.m.) —I just want to ask Senator Campbell a question. Given that the Employment Advocate will take on a sort of inspectorate role in relation to AWAs, I wanted some advice as to what is to occur to the section of the department which used to do the inspectorate role in terms of awards. I think it has most recently been called awards management section. I wonder if you can indicate whether or not the department will continue to play that role as inspectorate in terms of awards in the same way it has in the past, and whether or not its resources are going to be downgraded in order to provide inspectorate services within the Office of the Employment Advocate?

As I understand the proposition, the Employment Advocate will take on inspectorate-type services for the monitoring of AWAs. The debate we have been having has been about whether the allocation of funds is going to be sufficient for that task. I, like Senator Margetts, have some concerns about that proposition, because I think we found last time the coalition went down this path in the 1970s that the structure they set up to replace trade unionism in the Industrial Relations Bureau failed to meet that task of monitoring, inspecting and enforcing awards. So I would like to know what the relationship is between those two roles within the Office of the Employment Advocate and what funding and resourcing is going to be made available for the respective sections.