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Friday, 15 June 1984
Page: 3219

Senator Button —On 29 May 1984 (Hansard, page 2009) Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle asked me a question with regard to a dispute affecting a community employment program project being undertaken by the City of Moorabbin in Victoria . In her question the honourable senator referred to bans imposed by the Plumbers and Gasfitters Employees Union in support of rates of pay in accordance with that union's award. In my reply I undertook to refer the honourable senator 's question to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations for response .

The Acting Minister has provided the following information in response to the honourable senator's question:

I have been advised of a number of disputes affecting work on several community employment program projects being undertaken by local government authorities in Victoria. The Moorabbin project is one of those affected by these disputes.

Specifically the disputes concern whether employees employed on these projects should be paid according to the Federal Municipal Employees (Victoria) Award or under appropriate building industry awards. In that context building industry unions have imposed various bans on a number of community employment program projects.

To some extent the problems have arisen because many local government authorities, who in the past have generally sub-contracted 'building' work, have , under community employment program funding arrangements, undertaken to do the work themselves by directly employing community employment program participants.

With regard to the City of Moorabbin project I am advised that the bans referred to by the honourable senator remain in force. However, I have been further advised that the Victorian Government has initiated discussions, involving all of the parties to the disputes. These talks are aimed at resolving the matter and several meetings have been held to date. These discussions are continuing.

While the Government is naturally concerned at the effect that the bans are having on the operation of the extremely successful community employment program , it is hoped that the discussions initiated by the Victorian Government will lead to a speedy resolution of these disputes. I can assure the honourable senator that the Government is closely monitoring developments in these disputes .