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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . .

Page.. 3064..

require an ongoing effort and focus. I hope that the process of undertaking the RMIT study has, in itself, caused those workers and employers engaged in the work to think more deeply about workplace health and safety. And I look forward to receiving the Work Safety Council's recommendations for actions we all can take over the next few months and years.

The construction safety subcommittee is one of several that have been established to focus safety policy expertise on high priority issues. Another subcommittee is examining occupational violence risks and the protection of vulnerable workers—critical issues in the context of rising insecure work and the ongoing exposure of vulnerable worker exploitation. In addition, in view of recent serious safety incidents involving apprentices, I have written to the council chair requesting that a time-limited subcommittee be established to consider how best to ensure that apprentices and young people are working in safe environments and are aware of their workplace safety rights and obligations.

To complement these work safety initiatives, the government is also developing a multifaceted ACT secure local jobs package which will streamline procurement requirements and provide a more transparent process for resolving issues that arise with respect to ACT government contracts. The secure local jobs package will promote job security, ensure that government contracts are awarded only to companies that meet the highest ethical and labour standards, and create an efficient, clear and transparent governance regime.

This will not only ensure that workers' rights are protected and improve job security; it will also create a level playing field for businesses. Too often over recent years we have seen evidence both locally and nationally of employers entering into sham contracting arrangements, exploiting visa workers and avoiding their industrial, workers compensation and taxation obligations. Quite simply, these are not the sorts of employers to whom governments should be giving their business. The secure local jobs package will use the government's purchasing power to deliver better jobs for Canberrans by establishing clear, fundamental principles to ensure employee safety, fair pay and conditions on public projects.

Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make this ministerial statement and to reaffirm the government's commitment to workplace health and safety in the territory. I present the following paper:

Work health and safety—Annual statement—Ministerial statement, 22 August 2017.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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