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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (27 September) . . Page.. 2819..


MR BARR (continuing):

occasions. He closed Charnwood high school on a months notice—a months notice—halfway through a school year and then flogged the site off later on. So for those opposite to have the hide to come into this place and suggest and seek to argue that this government and the processes that we have gone through—the most extensive consultation process ever in the history of self-government—are inadequate, given their record in government, their failure to address the substantive issues when they were in office, which involved a process of rationalising schools and closing a school on a months notice midway through a school year, is outrageous. But it is what we come to expect from this bunch.

Mr Mulcahy gets up and talks about the need to reform the delivery of government services. But then in every area, every specific area where the government have taken action to ensure that we prioritise quality ahead of quantity and that we ensure that our public education system is delivering to meet the needs of all students, they oppose it. They have no economic credibility at all. Mr Mulcahy knows it. He bows his head in shame. He bows his head in shame as he has to listen to the schizoid positions of the shadow ministry.

MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Order! The time for debate on this matter of public importance has expired.

Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2007

Debate resumed from 30 August 2007, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.06): In relation to the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2007, I thank the minister for arranging a briefing. Unfortunately—it is the first time it has happened—I had to leave it to my advisers, but they relayed the information in detail and went back to clarify some issues that arose following our subsequent discussions. So I am well informed about the basis of this bill. I have to say that the opposition is not satisfied with this bill, which we believe continues a dangerous legal trend in the area of occupational health and safety. This is a trend which reverses the golden thread of the criminal law and sees employers judged guilty until proven innocent in prosecutions for workplace accidents. As such, I will later move an amendment to the bill to remove those sections which seek to impose draconian provisions into our criminal law.

I begin by noting the opposition's position on the less contentious aspects of the bill. In relation to the Occupational Health and Safety Council, the opposition is satisfied with the government's explanation for the changes to the membership of the council. These amendments will allow the minister to appoint an additional member of the council. I note from the government's briefings that the council has formerly included the head of WorkCover and the head of the Office of Regulatory Services as one person, but this will not always be the case.

In terms of the termination of members, the legislation also amends the circumstances for termination of members of the council. With respect to the requirement to


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