Page 144 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022
The government recognises that a COVID and post-COVID world requires a strong commitment to secure jobs and, through initiatives such as the Secure Local Jobs Code, the secure workforce conversion policy and the insourcing framework, we will deliver on this commitment through meaningful action.
As part of the government’s commitment to driving secure employment, we are focusing not only on public sector employees but on all workers in the territory. I have spoken before in this place about the benefits of good quality jobs—jobs that are healthy, safe and secure. We know that people who believe their work is insecure experience significant detrimental effects on their mental health and we also know that the poorest quality of work is comparable to unemployment as a risk factor for poor mental health. This is concerning.
The government has a strong and progressive reform agenda promoting secure employment for the territory. Since 2019 the Secure Local Jobs Code reforms have used the government’s procurement power to encourage a high ethical and labour standard amongst our contractors. From 27 November 2021, all labour hire providers must be licensed to operate in the ACT. Labour hire workers are particularly vulnerable, due to the nature of labour hire working arrangements. The new licensing scheme ensures that licensed operators demonstrate their history and ongoing compliance with workplace laws and standards. We now have 674 labour hire providers licensed in the ACT as of 4 February this year.
As a government, we have also committed to reviewing the scope and coverage of our portable long service leave legislation. Long service leave is an important workplace entitlement that supports worker wellbeing and productivity. It is an increasingly important entitlement as globalisation and other factors have increased the level of workforce casualisation, short-term agency work and outsourcing.
It is also important that our workplaces are safe. Safe workplaces are secure workplaces. Unsafe workplaces affect not only workers but also their friends, family and the broader community. All businesses and employers, in carrying out their work, must protect the health and safety of workers in the workplace. This obligation arises under our work health and safety laws.
Our WHS obligations not only address the physical health of our workers but also, and importantly, protect them from psychosocial hazards in the workplace. The impacts of psychological injuries go beyond the cost of a workers compensation claim and affect productivity, staff turnover, workplace culture, the resources required to manage and respond to complaints and litigation, reputational damage and negative impacts on workers’ health and wellbeing—just to name a few of the impacts. Each year around 7,200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions, making up around six per cent of all workers compensation claims. Approximately $543 million is paid in workers compensation for work-related mental health conditions annually.
Safety in the workplace, of course, is everyone’s responsibility. It is important that our work health and safety laws continue to effectively protect health and safety in the