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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2389..

Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2007

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2007 which I am introducing today updates part 2 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 in relation to the OHS Council and improves the construction of the safety duty offences in the OHS Act and the Dangerous Substances Act 2004.

This government maintains a strong commitment to improving work safety in the territory and is dedicated to building a robust and modern body of legislation. In 2002 the government embarked on a major review of work safety legislation. This bill is yet another step in this important process.

The government has been assisted throughout its review program by the Occupational Health and Safety Council. The council is a tripartite body established under the OHS Act to provide advice to the government on health and safety in the territory's workplaces.

The first phase of the review saw the introduction of two significant bills earlier in the life of this Assembly. The first bill addressed the council's report to government on the compliance model under the OHS Act and established an enhanced compliance and enforcement framework for work safety.

The second bill saw the creation of the Dangerous Substances Act which repealed and replaced the outdated dangerous goods legislation.

While the bill I am introducing today contains relatively minor amendments to the OHS Act it is significant because it represents the first stage of the second phase of the government's comprehensive review of work safety legislation.

The completion of the second phase of the review will see the introduction of new legislation to repeal and replace the entire OHS Act and provide a revised framework for work safety in the territory.

This second phase addresses the OHS Council's 2005 review of the scope and structure of the OHS Act. As part of its review the council recommended that "a new and rationalised OHS Act for the regulation of health, safety and welfare at work be developed and introduced".

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