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Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Page: 11771

Ms COLLINS (FranklinMinister for Community Services, Minister for the Status of Women and Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development) (10:03): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This is a companion bill to the Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account Bill 2012. That bill will establish a Special Account under section 21 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 to fund the Commonwealth’s contribution to the historic pay rise awarded by Fair Work Australia earlier this year to our social and community services sector workers.

The Commonwealth supplementation will be delivered through funding drawn from the Special Account by eight Commonwealth agencies and allocated to assist employers, who are directly or indirectly funded by the Commonwealth for the purposes of a program prescribed under the new legislation, and who are required to make payments to their employees under the pay equity arrangements.

This includes Commonwealth-funded service providers who are subject to the transitional pay equity order made by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission on 12 June 2009. These Queensland social and community services workers will be transitioned over time to the Fair Work Australia equal remuneration order.

A significant amount of Commonwealth funding will also be provided to the sector through state and territory governments for agreements with and payments to states and territories, such as National Partnership Payments and National Specific Purpose Payments. The Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account Bill 2012 will enable funding to be paid to the COAG Reform Fund established under the COAG Reform Act 2008.

This consequential amendments bill makes one minor amendment to existing Commonwealth legislation to complete the new arrangements. This amendment will insert into the COAG Reform Act 2008 a note pointing out that an amount may be credited to the COAG Reform Fund under the new Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account Act 2012.

Debate adjourned.