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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3745 ..


In relation to labour hire, several public inquiries across Australia have highlighted the vulnerability of labour hire workers to poor treatment at work, ranging from cases of underpayment and unauthorised deductions of wages to dangerous conditions of work and substandard accommodation. The ACT government has undertaken to introduce a labour hire licensing scheme to promote integrity and encourage responsible practices, with a particular focus on work safety. The design of the ACT licensing scheme will be informed by a public consultation process, which ended in August this year, and also by the design of schemes that are already operating in some other Australian jurisdictions.

The next 12 months will also see changes to the operation of WorkSafe ACT to make it a more efficient, effective and independent regulator. The changes have been informed by the 27 recommendations of a 2018 independent review of the ACT work safety compliance and enforcement arrangements. Once implemented, they will improve the legislative, governance and administrative operations of WorkSafe ACT. In addition to making improvements to WorkSafe's governance, the reforms will increase the capacity of the tripartite ministerial advisory council on work safety to monitor and provide advice on the safety regulator's performance.

October is National Safe Work Month. This year its theme is "Be a safety champion". The theme was selected to highlight that anyone, both employers and workers from any occupation or industry, can be a champion for work health and safety. Everyone can support a safety culture at their workplace and promote best practice work health and safety initiatives.

While government can set the frameworks to support safety in workplaces, we also need industry regulators, industry groups, employers and workers to cooperate to lift safety awareness and practice to ensure that workers are able to return home safely each day. I will be working with officials, WorkSafe ACT and other safety stakeholders in October and into the future to promote this message of inclusion and shared responsibility to improve worker safety in the ACT.

The ACT government is committed to the pursuit of ethical labour standards for territory workers. Improving workplace safety and injury management is critical to that commitment. I look forward to working closely with employers, employees and their representatives to ensure that workers are able to return home safely each day.

I present the following paper:

Workplace Safety Performance—Annual statement 2018-19—Ministerial statement, 24 September 2019.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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