Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 October 2022) . . Page.. 3393 ..
understanding shared by the government, yourself, Madam Speaker, and the Office of the Legislative Assembly.
The bill does not affect the privileges, immunities and powers of the Assembly and its committees, and, by definition, does not impinge on the proceedings of the Assembly or its committees. It mirrors similar commonwealth legislation, in which this issue of possible perceived impingement is very closely considered. Of course, it goes without saying that ACT legislation cannot overstep the bounds of the self-government act, which enshrines these protections of the Assembly. This bill reaffirms the existing understood protections available to the diverse workforce in, and the visitors to, this place.
We have our own staff. There are members of the ACT public sector who enable the running of Assembly business, and support Assembly members and ministers. Members of the community are welcome to visit and observe the conduct of proceedings in the Assembly. In addition, there are cleaners, caterers, security personnel, building management and maintenance teams and more who keep this workplace, the Legislative Assembly, running. To all of these workers we have an understood legislated duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act. No-one is disputing that.
I note also that advice to the government, and the Speaker’s submission to the privileges committee, refers to the desirability of the Speaker and the Work Health and Safety Commissioner developing and entering into an MOU to settle on details of interactions between the two. A provision to enter an MOU was not included in this bill due to time constraints, but the government will consider and continue to consult with all parties on this point, with a view to a potential legislative amendment to ensure an MOU is developed and brought forward at an appropriate time.
To conclude: the community rightly expects its leaders to be exemplary in their conduct and behaviour, both in the community and as employers. It expects them to be role models for others and to show the way. When it comes to health and safety at work, this means that, in seeking to have our workplace and the work we do highlighted in work health and safety legislation, we are making a clear public commitment as leaders to fulfil our obligations.
The ACT has a strong record of protecting the rights of Canberra workers, and in the current Assembly the government will continue to deliver on these commitments. This amendment shows that we welcome transparency and absolute clarity over how our work health and safety laws and compliance measures apply to us. It leaves no doubt that in our workplace work health and safety is a priority, and we take our duties seriously. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Cain) adjourned to the next sitting.
Sitting pattern 2023
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for