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Monday, 7 March 2005
Page: 194

Senator O’Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, upon notice, on 23 December 2004:

With reference to the Special Employee Entitlement Scheme for Ansett Group Employees:

(1)   Will the Minister provide the definition of ‘community standard’ in relation to entitlements under this scheme.

(2)   On what basis was the ‘community standard’ determined.

(3)   Since 1996, to which other Commonwealth programs has the ‘community standard’ applied.

(4)   Was the same ‘community standard’ relevant to the Commonwealth’s assistance to former employees of National Textiles; if not, what standard was relevant and why.

(5)   How often is the ‘community standard’ reviewed against economic, industrial and social changes over time.

Senator Abetz (Special Minister of State) —The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   The term community standard in the Special Employee Entitlement Scheme for Ansett Group employees (SEESA) scheme refers to the redundancy entitlement as defined by the Termination Change Redundancy 1984 test case.

(2)   See 1 above.

(3)   Within the workplace relations portfolio, the General Employee and Entitlements Scheme has regard to the community standard.

(4)   Payments to the employees of National Textiles were a “top-up arrangement” which provided for the outstanding employee entitlements, once payment had been made under the Deed of Company Arrangement and from other sources. The payments under this arrangement were provided by the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments on a dollar for dollar basis.

(5)   As and when the matter of Termination, Change Redundancy Clauses in Federal Awards are brought before the Australian Industrial Relations Commissions.