Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 1981)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 1981)


Debates for 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 19 August 1981 Mr PERRON: It seems to me that the member for Nhu1unbuy is proposing that overtime or work on public holidays should be entirely optional and at the employee's desire. I do not think that that is an acceptable proposition and the bill before the Assembly clearly states in clause 11(1) that an employer may require an employee to work on a public holiday. In the course of running his business, he may well require the employees to work in order to stay in business. The bill requires that, if those employees do work, then, provided that they are below certain levels of income, they shall be paid at certain rates of pay. I personally oppose the amendment. Mr LEO: Mr Chairman, what the Treasurer is proposing is adequately covered by the amendment: 'other than where the employee would not, in the ordinary course of his employment, be required to work on that public holiday but for that direction'. That makes it adequately clear that it covers shift workers if they would normally be required to work on that day. Mr EVERINGHAM: I oppose the proposed amendment. Most awards in the Territory make provision for deduction of payments if an employee fails to attend for work on a public holiday as directed. As minimum standards legislation, this bill cannot exceed the general awards standards which the amendment seeks to do. The member for Nhu1unbuy is just engaging in a bit of pacesetting. Amendment negatived. Mr EVERINGHAM: I move amendment 51.6. This is to conform with the changed definition in clause 4(1). Amendment agreed to. Mr LEO: I move amendment 49.2. I felt that the $300 per week threshold for payment of overtime rates was a bit rigid. In order to keep the spirit of the bill, it should be much more flexible. Inflation being what it is these days, I am quite sure that the $300 will be eroded in practically no time at all. What is proposed here ties that amount to the $300. It is an ongoing thing. It shows the Northern Territory average earnings for an employed male. It should be an ongoing, flexible term to be paid at 2~ times the rate, which is what Commissioner Taylor suggested the rate should be. Mr PERRON: Mr Chairman, I was interested in what the sponsor of this amendment had to say. I would like him to give us some more specifics of the current figures for average male weekly earnings in the Northern Territory. From figures which were released fairly recently, the amount was substantially higher than $300 per week without taking into account the 125%. I thought that the figure mentioned fairly recently was $360-$380. 125% of that would put it probably near $400 or more which would substantially take away from the levels being established in the bill. Unless the member can provide more evidence to support his statement that 125% of average male weekly earnings in the Northern Territory is in the vicinity of $300 per week, I do not see how we can accept it. Mr ISAACS: Mr Chairman, the Treasurer's recollection is correct. My recollection is that the average weekly earnings figure would be something in the order of $345-$350. The point made by the member for Nhulunbuy surely is the correct one. If we leave it at $300, that figure will be very quickly eroded by inflation. I believe that the principle he is enunciating is the correct one. If you wish to amend 125% to 100%, I think that would be an appropriate way of doing it. But I think something has to be done to preserve that figure. 1317

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