Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2022) . . Page.. 1138 ..
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.08): The following ministerial statement is related to World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day.
Madam Speaker, 28 April was World Day for Safety and Health at Work. It was also Workers’ Memorial Day. This is an important day for working Canberrans, their families and the community. It is a day for reflecting on how to prevent work-related accidents, illnesses and diseases. It is also a day where we take time to remember those who have died at work or from work-related injury or illness. This year’s theme of “Act together to build a positive safety and health culture” reminds us that we all—governments, employers, employees and the community—have a contribution to make to a world where work is safe and healthy for everyone. Work health and safety is a joint effort. Unsafe workplaces affect not only workers but their friends, families and the broader community.
All businesses and employers have an obligation under work health and safety laws to protect the health and safety of their workers. Workers also have responsibilities to themselves and to each other. As a government we have an important role to play. It is our responsibility to ensure that health and safety laws protect workers and keep pace as the nature of work changes, new hazards emerge and community expectations evolve. Our government has demonstrated our commitment to doing exactly that.
For Workers’ Memorial Day, the International Trades Union Congress has set the theme as “Make safe and healthy work a fundamental right. It’s a no-brainer.” Sadly, while this is true, the latest data available tells us that 194 workers were fatally injured at work in Australia in 2020, including two deaths in the ACT. Every one of these people had a family who love them, friends who mourn them and colleagues who miss them. Everyone does have a right to return home safely from work, and this right must be protected. Every workplace fatality is a tragedy that devastates families, friends, co-workers and the wider community, but these are preventable tragedies.
The introduction last year of legislative change to make industrial manslaughter an offence under work health and safety laws was a significant step forward in delivering on the government’s commitment to strengthen workplace safety across the ACT and to stand up for the rights of workers. This new offence sits at the top of a series of offences that provide strong deterrents against unsafe work practices and systematic