Page 1140 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022

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The reforms will be delivered in two tranches over 2022 to give workers and employers the time to adjust to the new requirements and be ready to work safely within the new regulatory environment for silica-containing materials. The first tranche of actions, currently underway, is the banning of uncontrolled dry cutting of materials containing silica and introducing mandatory silica dust awareness training. These actions will remove the highest and most dangerous risk of airborne dust and ensure that people working with silica dust are armed with the knowledge to protect themselves and others.

These reforms demonstrate the progress made against the commitments in the parliamentary and governing agreement to ensure that the ACT has strong and responsive work health and safety laws. I thank the unions and others who advocate so tirelessly for workers’ safety. I was proud to stand strong in solidarity with them, and with workers, on World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Together we will continue to ensure that all working people in the ACT have work and workplaces that promote and protect their health, safety and wellbeing.

I also had the pleasure of presenting awards to delegates recognised in Unions ACT’s May Day awards last week. One of these delegates was Bryan Kidman, the United Workers Union member who was unfairly disciplined for speaking up about unfair and unsafe working conditions. Bryan’s advocacy showed that exerting public pressure on an employer is recognised as a commonplace and legitimate industrial activity. Congratulations to Bryan and all delegates recognised for their work. They are all a wonderful example of the power of collective action and the importance of solidarity.

On Workers’ Memorial Day, we stand together in solidarity. When I introduced the industrial manslaughter bill to the Assembly I did so in memory of those who never come home from work, and for the devastated families, colleagues and communities that they have left. On Workers’ Memorial Day 2022 we remembered them. And I continue the promise I made back then that the ACT and this government will be working to raise safety standards and promote safe and secure work into the future.

I present the following paper:

World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day—Ministerial statement, 4 May 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (10.17): Last Thursday, 28 April, we commemorated International Workers’ Memorial Day, as well as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Along with my comrades in the union movement, we gathered at the National Workers Memorial to pay tribute to workers who have lost their lives or suffered an injury due to their work.

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