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Employment and Workplace Relations

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Greens call for moratorium on penalties to job-seekers

The Australian Greens today called for a moratorium on participation breaches for the estimated 320,000 job-seekers nationally affected by the change-over in employment services starting today, 1 July 2009.

"The Government has made a serious error in the level of disruption to job-seekers caused by the huge turnover of providers in its Employment Services tender," Senator for WA Rachel Siewert said.

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CDEP jobs cut in favour of dole

The Australian Greens today expressed their disappointment at the Government's approach to Indigenous employment, following the defeat of Greens amendments designed to stop the Government dumping people off Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) onto income support.

"The Greens do not support the Government's plan to move Aboriginal workers from CDEP jobs onto income support," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"This is a backwards step that undermines their work-readiness and esteem, ultimately leading to worse employment outcomes."

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CDEP in the NT

I will largely focus my comments on the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2009 and then touch very briefly on the Family Assistance Amendment (Further 2008 Budget Measures) Bill 2009. As Senator Scullion articulated, this bill has three schedules. I have little comment on the first schedule other than to say that I agree that very few people will be affected by these measures and the Greens have no objections to them.

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ALP votes to keep AWAs – retains worst parts of Work Choices

The Rudd Government today opted to keep Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), voting down Greens' amendments that would have seen them finally put to rest.

"Australia voted at the last election for an end to Work Choices. Unfortunately, the Rudd Government seems reluctant to listen and act to restore genuine fairness and equality in the workplace," said Australian Greens industrial relations spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"This government are allowing unfair Work Choices AWAs to continue and are denying Australian workers the benefits of the new safety net."

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Greens will refer ABCC legislation

The Australian Greens today announced they will refer the Government's legislation for a replacement Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to the Employment & Workplace Relations Committee.

"The Greens will make sure proper scrutiny is applied to any ALP Government measure retaining coercive powers against a particular section of the workforce," said Australian Greens industrial relations spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

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Fair Work Transition Bill

I rise tonight to speak on both the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 and the Fair Work (State Referral and Consequential and Other Amendments) Bill 2009. I will refer to these bills as the ‘fair work transition bill' and the ‘fair work referral bill' respectively.

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Minister needs to deliver on employment services jobs promise - Greens

The Australian Greens are calling on the Minister for Employment, Brendan O'Connor to act quickly to ensure he delivers on his promise to look after former Job Network staff.

"We are hearing distressing stories of former Job Network staff unable to secure work or being forced to take massive pay cuts as a result of the recent debacle with the employment services tender," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

The tender process has resulted in a massive turn-over of employment service providers, with many previously high-rated services being replaced by new providers.

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Greens out in front of union movement

The Australian Greens moved amendments to the Fair Work Bill in the Senate designed to achieve many of the outcomes the ACTU now, after the legislation has passed, wants to see from the government.

"The best way to ensure a fair industrial relations system was to try and amend the government's legislation when it was before the parliament," said Senator Siewert, Australian Greens industrial relations spokesperson.

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