The Hon. JANELLE SAFFIN: I direct my question without notice to the Attorney General, and Minister for Industrial Relations. Will he inform the House of the Carr Government's support for the Fair School Wear Campaign?
The Hon. J. W. SHAW: During the last election, the Government promised to take steps to improve the situation of clothing outworkers. Work is now proceeding on developing a legislative package that will give expression to the strategy, Behind the Label. In the meantime, the Government is setting up or contributing to a number of other projects and activities which will start to make an immediate difference to the way in which the clothing industry operates. The Fair School Wear Campaign is one such project which invites school communities to think about where their uniforms come from and to encourage their suppliers to ensure that school uniforms worn by students are not the product of exploited labour. One way in which the suppliers can demonstrate their commitment to their labour practices is by signing the Home Workers Code of Practice, which is a voluntary code developed by the fashion industry together with the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union.
The Home Workers Code of Practice is fully supported by the Government. It is intended that the Government's legislative package and the code will work together to limit the possibility of ongoing exploitation in the clothing industry. The Fair School Wear Campaign is being co-ordinated by Fair Wear, which is an established consumer activist group that has been concerned for some time with the issue of outworker exploitation. Its actions, together with those of the clothing union, have already encouraged large numbers of clothing retailers and suppliers to sign the code. As an organisation committed to harnessing the power of consumer action to end the exploitation of outworkers, Fair Wear is uniquely placed to run a successful consciousness-raising campaign within school communities. The Government expects that this awareness will build up public support for the broader Behind the Label strategy and prepare consumers to support ethical businesses.
The Government is proud to provide financial support for this important campaign. I was honoured to officially launch the Fair School Wear Campaign at Leichhardt High School in March this year. It was good to visit that school, feel the strong spirit that is in that public school, meet the principal and participate with leaders of the student community and others. At the launch I was able to announce that a number of schools, both public and private, and a number of clothing suppliers and retailers have already indicated their support for the campaign. I hope to be able to report further on the success of the campaign in the near future.