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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . .

Page.. 492..


Light rail—workplace safety

MR WALL: My question is to the minister for transport, regarding light rail. Minister, why has a project in your portfolio suffered extreme safety breaches and injuries to workers and can you confirm that a worker's fingers were severed in a workplace injury on the capital metro project?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Wall for the question. As I indicated in my previous answer, safety remains a key priority for this project. It is certainly—

Mrs Jones: Have someone's fingers been severed?

MS FITZHARRIS: No, someone's fingers were not severed, is the advice that I have. Someone's fingers were injured in an incident but they were not severed.

MR WALL: Minister, why did you not anticipate such safety risks when you knew that light rail was a complex and dangerous construction project with tight time constraints?

MS FITZHARRIS: The government anticipated that, given such a large project, we needed to have safety at the forefront of our minds. That was essential during the planning and the procurement phases of the project. It was also very clear to the government that it would need to provide funding for three additional WorkSafe inspectors in last year's budget.

MISS C BURCH: Why does WorkCover need to assign additional inspectors to monitor a project in your portfolio, and when was the decision taken to take on such additional inspectors?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Miss Burch for the supplementary and refer her to the significant discussion regarding last year's budget, which her colleagues are well aware of.

Housing—affordability

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. How is the ACT government working to boost housing affordability for first homebuyers through national and local reform?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. One of the government's ongoing reform priorities is the abolition of stamp duty. We have cut stamp duty every year since tax reform commenced in 2012. That means that the buyer of a $500,000 home in the ACT now saves over $7,000 in stamp duty compared to when reform began.

Stamp duty is a particularly unfair hurdle for people buying their first home. It can add tens of thousands of dollars to the already huge upfront cost of that purchase. That is why I am working for the states and territories to come together to agree to abolish all stamp duty for first homebuyers. Most jurisdictions have a range of concession or


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