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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2417..


MS DUNDAS (11.49): Given the amount of intense debate and concerns raised about the right of entry provisions, it is clear that there remains a lack of information flow to the community and that we need to take some time to work through the implications of this legislation. The Democrats support this amendment to delay the commencement of the right of entry provisions until 1 January 2005.

MS TUCKER (11.49): This amendment puts the commencement date of the right of entry provisions back to the start of next year. I trust there will be enough time to establish reasonable protocols between unions and business, and for government to incorporate the provisions into regulations. Issues such as access to high security sites and the wearing of safety equipment by authorised representatives could be addressed in that context. Regulations are disallowable instruments, so there will be extra scrutiny of agreed procedures at this level.

This is clearly a "suck it and see"exercise. It seems it is the will of the Assembly to give the right of entry to authorised representatives of unions or employer organisations. If, despite goodwill and agreed established protocols, these provisions create real problems for businesses but there are no good health and safety outcomes, the act can and would be revisited. I am sure the Liberal Party, whether in government or in opposition, would be keen to do so if the information supported such a response.

It is also worth recalling that this bill is just one stage in an ongoing review of OH&S legislation in the territory. The next step is a review of the scope and structure of the OH&S Act, which would provide an opportunity to revisit some aspects of this scheme if necessary.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 13, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 14.

MR PRATT (11.51): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 1 to 3 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: I move amendments 1 to 3 [see schedule 4 at page 2451].

Amendment No 1 is consequential to the amendments the Liberal opposition put forth to the dangerous substances bill, changing the absolute liability penalty to "strict liability". We want to see those penalties downgraded. Amendment No 2 is also consequential to the amendments the Liberal opposition put forth to the dangerous substances bill, changing the absolute liability penalty to "strict liability". Amendment No 3 again is consequential to the amendments the Liberal opposition put forth to the dangerous substances bill, changing the absolute liability penalty to "strict liability". We feel that "absolute liability"Does not provide sufficient flexibility for those judging on the


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