Statutes Amendment (Shop Trading And Holidays) Bill

28 Mar 2012 archivespeech

This speech is in relation to the Statutes Amendment (Shop Trading And Holidays) Bill. The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK offers some remarks in relation to clause 1 of the bill.

In committee.

Clause 1.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I rise to make some fairly specific remarks in relation to this clause, which I must say I find one of the most invidious ways of finding a solution to a problem that I have seen in my nearly nine years in parliament. It has been a flippant approach to what is a specific problem within the Rundle Mall, which could have quite easily been solved had the government had the good sense to adopt the policy as proposed by the member for Adelaide, Rachel Sanderson, who was on to this very early in her term and, indeed, prior to that, as the candidate for Adelaide; that is, that this could have happened if that area had been designated as a tourist precinct. Why we need to have every business in South Australia captured by this in order to satisfy the shoppies union is beyond most businesses.

We are the highest taxed state in South Australia, and this just adds another prong to what already makes South Australia incredibly uncompetitive for anybody who is looking to invest capital in this state. They will certainly be looking to other jurisdictions, which bend over backwards to try to attract investment, rather than in this state, which just keeps thinking that people who have capital, people who employ people, can continue to have imposts put on them without any effect on jobs. I will be speaking to a motion later in relation to young people leaving this state. I think this parliament is doing a very grave disservice to the young people of South Australia because it will just be another thing that will remove opportunities for young people to continue to be employed in this state.

Those are some general comments. I would also like to talk about the aged-care sector, which is one I am very familiar with; I worked with one of the peak bodies, the Aged Care Association of SA, as it is now known. We have also received representations from the larger group, which is Aged and Community Services SA & NT. It has provided us with some specific examples. I understand that it would have provided them to all members, and I think it is worth raising them in this parliament. Aged care is quite unique in a unique and difficult situation because it cannot cut services on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. It is regulated by the federal government. It is required to fulfil obligations through the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. Therefore, by law and by regulation, it is unable to do what the government flippantly thinks most businesses will be able to do. They cannot close their doors—they operate 24/7, 52 weeks of the year—nor can they raise revenue because their fees are capped. There is a very specific fee per level of care per person within those facilities, so they are stuck with this deal.

I heard some remarks by the Hon. Mr Darley last night in relation to some sewerage charges but I would be interested to know specifically how those equate. Boandik Lodge in the South-East with 224 bed facilities says that this lovely little deal is going to cost it another $11,000. So, my question for the government is: can the government give us specific dollar figures for those? The Aged Care Association says that for the average 100 bed facility the additional cost per 100 beds is $2,500, and that does not include all on costs, I might add. When you add those into it, that is a great deal more. I would ask what form of compensation the government is providing and how it is calculating it—whether it is doing it on a per bed facility or whether it is doing it on their entire rateable land? I would suggest that the government needs to consult directly with aged care facilities. They provided them with some land tax relief several years ago, but this deal is going to disadvantage aged care in South Australia compared to other states.

We have also had representation from the supported residential facility sector which does not receive any funding at all. Bellara Village at Campbelltown is regulated under the Supported Residential Facilities Act and they, too, are unable to recoup their costs, so we would ask how the government is intending to address that particular sector. Other sectors I think bear mentioning because these can be some of their peak times—Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. They can be difficult times for families. From the point of view of the women's shelters, family shelters and the youth shelters, I ask whether the government has any intention of providing additional funding to those sectors as they have for the disability services workers so that those organisations are not disadvantaged as they will be captured whether they be in the Riverland, Ceduna or in the South-East. Every single operation that has paid employees is going to be captured by this phoney deal. With those comments, I look forward to the further committee stage of this debate.

I should have also mentioned—and this is my last point I would like to make—that when Premier Weatherill was minister for aging, he attended a forum in a community cabinet in Gawler. He made a commitment to the aged care sector there. He was asked quite specifically about the issue of aged care funding. Aged care funding is an invidious issue. I think aged care is probably one of the most regulated sectors in Australia and indeed the state. It has so much scrutiny of every aspect of its operations for good reason but it also means that it can be an extremely complex area to manage. It is currently under review with the Productivity Commission because there are concerns in relation to the viability of the aged care sector, so there may be some significant changes to their funding. It is unlikely—given that the Rudd and Gillard governments have completely blown the bank, as Labor governments are wont to do—that there is going to be any additional funding, but so be it. Premier Weatherill (as he is now) made a commitment in 2004:

Make no mistake, as Minister for Aging I will be reminding the PM of his responsibility for aged care. He is not going to cost shift onto the State Government.

His government is seeking to potentially cost shift to the federal government, so I would like to specifically know what commitment then minister Weatherill (now the Premier) had made then that he has followed through or if he actually resiles from those comments that he made seven years ago directly to the aged care sector.

[.......later on]

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: …. With regard to women's shelters, there has been no contact with me or my department by any women's shelter or organisation representing women's shelters expressing concern about the impact that these part public holidays will have. I think there can be a game played where organisations who seem to have no objections to this are brought into the debate, expecting an answer from me. I am not going to enter into debate where there is no—

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: Did you call me a dickhead?

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: I called you a genius.

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: Are you sure?

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: I'm quite sure.

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: Because you do have a tendency of loose-lipping sometimes. So, Mr President, I will not be drawn into hypothetical situations at the whim of the opposition.