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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . .

Page.. 398..


As I said in answer to the first question, the government has allocated funding for an additional three WorkSafe inspectors to cover this project. Funding has been allocated over three years, in line with the expected level of construction, commissioning and initial start-up activities. All three inspectors have now commenced, with specific training in light rail construction and operations underway. While the additional inspectors are an integral part of WorkSafe ACT, they will be focused on ensuring compliance with work health and safety laws for phase 1 of light rail activity. These activities will be managed in line with a comprehensive regulatory strategy and program.

As I mentioned earlier, light rail construction involves specialised work activity which has not been undertaken in the ACT before. Safety is absolutely critical, and inspectors will be on the ground working closely with tradespeople, contractors, engineers, specialist officers, Canberra Metro and Transport Canberra and City Services. We understand the importance of this project to the city's future public transport agenda. Its uniqueness as a construction project for Canberra requires a productive approach to regulatory oversight of work health and safety. The resourcing allocation over three years reflects this importance in the transition from construction activity into commissioning and initial start-up of the light rail project.

Government—ex gratia payments

MR WALL: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, late last year it was reported that over 200 school contract cleaners would receive an ex gratia payment from the government of over $1,000 each for being left out of work due to a change in the way cleaning contracts are awarded. At the same time, locally owned green waste collection businesses were also being left out of work, without compensation, due to the rollout of the government's green bin scheme. In the interest of fairness, will you and your cabinet colleagues reconsider appropriate compensation to the existing green waste collection industry businesses that have been, and are going to be, left out of work as the green bin scheme is rolled out across territory?

MR BARR: Yes, the government is considering a range of options, but it is unlikely to be direct financial compensation.

MR WALL: Treasurer, are different criteria used to determine the eligibility for compensation payments or ex gratia payments for an organisation or industry that is not unionised or union affiliated, as opposed to those that are heavily unionised, such as the cleaning industry?

MR BARR: No.

MR COE: Treasurer, what policy documents guide the government with regard to when ex gratia payments are made? Does representation from a union play any role in that document?

MR BARR: No, representations from unions do not play a role in any document. Representations are routinely made by a whole range of individuals, be they people who are directly affected advocating on behalf of themselves, members in this place


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