Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 2171 ..
representatives attend relevant training. This will ensure that workers have a trained colleague on site to report and take action on their work health and safety concerns.
The bill will also make it compulsory for the principal contractor of a major construction project to establish a health and safety committee for the project and to train committee members via a relevant course. Health and safety committees bring together workers and management to assist in the development and review of health and safety policies and procedures. These committees are a useful forum for consultation on work and safety issues. They enable worker representatives and management to meet regularly and to work together to improve safety outcomes. They are particularly useful for consultation in workplaces where there are a number of different persons conducting a business or undertaking, which is often the case on large construction projects.
The bill will further require that at least half the health and safety committee members at worksites at which a major construction project is being carried out are workers carrying out work at the workplace. Mandating worker representation levels on health and safety committees, along with compulsory training of committee members, will ensure that engagement and collaboration between employers and workers result in meaningful consultation and improved safety outcomes.
In recognising that there may be some circumstances where the formation of work groups and the election of health and safety representatives and committees should not be required, the bill includes a provision to allow the regulator to exempt a principal contractor from complying with some of the obligations imposed by the amendments on application by the principal contractor.
A delayed commencement of 1 January 2019 for the bill has deliberately been chosen. This is to give the construction industry in the territory time to prepare and familiarise itself with the new obligations.
The amendments contained in this bill will enhance collaboration in the construction industry and, by doing so, improve safety outcomes for construction workers across the territory. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Wall) adjourned to the next sitting.
Senior Practitioner Bill 2018
Ms Stephen-Smith, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.05): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.