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Monday, 4 November 1996
Page: 5021


Senator MURRAY(5.34 p.m.) —I would like to return to Senator Cooney's question. Senator Cooney, your question I would answer as follows—that paragraph (a) is amended to make it clear that awards are to be both `established' and `maintained' by the commission. This word `maintained' is important as it means that the commission has a duty to ensure that awards are up-to-date and are not allowed to decline over time.

Secondly, paragraph (b) is to be changed to make it clear that awards will act as a safety net for fair minimum wages and conditions of employment. This is somewhat wider than the original proposal to confine the scope of awards to providing such a safety net. Minimum rates awards provide more than the mere safety net, for `safety net' implies an absolute minimum of conditions. While the provision of a safety net is a desirable object of awards, this new object makes it quite clear that the existence of a safety net is one of the reasons, but clearly not the sole reason, for awards.

Thirdly, paragraph (c) makes it clear that awards are to be simplified as a key object. This is to place up front the clear intention of simple and easier to use awards as a key requirement for this schedule.