Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1597..
Planning and Environment-Standing Committee
Report No 2
MRS DUNNE (10.39): I move:
That this Assembly authorise the publication of Report No 2 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment entitled Service Delivery-2002-03 Budget consultation process.
This is purely a clean-up motion that fixes an oversight on our part when this report was first tabled.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MS GALLAGHER (10.40): I move:
That this Assembly:
(1) acknowledges that Australia has one of the highest rates of industrial deaths in the OECD; and
(2) calls on the Minister for Industrial Relations to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation by the end of this sitting year.
Mr Speaker, as you would know, more Australians die as a result of industrial accident each year than die on Australia's roads. Yet industrial death tolls are not published on our nightly news bulletins, there are no hard-hitting advertising campaigns to raise awareness of the issue and, sadly, it is relatively infrequently that anyone is held accountable for a workplace death.
Industrial deaths are not inevitable; they are not a result of inherent dangers in the industries involved. They are often avoidable and preventable, but it is often the case that no-one is held accountable.
Introducing or recognising the crime of industrial manslaughter is an appropriate way to ensure that occupational health and safety laws are adhered to by employers. These changes would ensure that employers exercise the responsibility they are vested with to make their workplaces safe and functioning. Only by instituting industrial manslaughter as an offence can we make sure that our workplaces and workers are safe and secure.
Mr Speaker, I will say this again throughout my speech, but it is a point worth labouring: responsible employers who take preventative measures to stop workplace injuries and deaths have nothing to fear from any of the proposed changes. It is those who breach their legal obligations who will attract the deserved attention of any changes in this area of law.