Page 2497 - Week 07 - Monday, 15 August 2022

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Estimates 2022-2023—Select Committee

Statement by chair

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (10.35): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Select Committee on Estimates 2022-2023 in relation to the estimates hearings which are due to commence later today.

On Friday, 12 August 2022 officers of WorkSafe ACT attended the Legislative Assembly and, following a discussion with the Clerk and other officers, issued a verbal prohibition notice under section 195 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011. Later that afternoon a written notice was issued to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

The prohibition notice purports to prohibit the committee from undertaking any hearings or committee meetings at the Legislative Assembly of the ACT. The notice states that this cannot occur until a risk assessment has been undertaken, adequate control measures are implemented in line with the hierarchy of control and consultation has been undertaken with all affected workers.

The committee is aware of a range of controls already in place, including social distancing, hand sanitiser and room limits. Witnesses are free to wear masks in the precincts. The estimates committee is of the view that this action constitutes a contempt under standing order 277A because it is a clear and unequivocal interference with the Assembly or a committee of its authority.

The estimates committee this morning resolved to write to the Speaker of the Assembly to raise matters of privilege and is seeking advice on the legality of the notice. The committee has this morning also resolved to write to the Work, Health and Safety Commissioner requesting details to be provided in relation to the complainant and the complaint in relation to the prohibition notice by no later than 1 pm today, 15 August 2022. The committee has considered options for continuing with estimates hearings and will advise witnesses in due course.

Reporting date

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (10.37), by leave: I move:

That the Assembly resolution of 24 March 2022, establishing the Select Committee on Estimates 2022-2023, be amended by omitting paragraph (6) and substituting:

“(6) the Committee is to report on the bills that have been referred on a date that is two weeks after its last public hearing has been held, or the date when the last answer to a question taken on notice or question on notice has been received, whichever is the later;”.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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