Page 3673 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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affairs. I will be relatively brief, but I want to confirm that the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill.

In addition to making minor and technical amendments to various legislation, this bill makes progress toward implementation of the recommendations of the Boland review. The Boland was a very important step in Australia’s workplace safety journey. A really important underlying principle in that review was the move towards good, strong, nationally consistent laws.

This is important for both workers and businesses. For businesses, nationally consistent laws mean that it is easier to operate across state and territory borders. It is clear that that means businesses have the ability to make good practice easier. For workers, nationally consistent laws provide confidence that their safety will be looked after, irrespective of where they are. Workers deserve to know that workplace safety is a chief concern in the workplace and for their government. I have said before, and I will say it again, that every worker should be confident when they go to work that they will come home at the end of the day.

Today it is also timely to reflect and reiterate that every worker should feel that they are safe in terms of their physical health and their psychosocial health. Bullying in Australian workplaces cannot be accepted by the workplace, and workers deserve to know that a government has their back when something goes wrong and they need to turn to a regulator to report it.

By the same token, on the critical issue of sexual assault, every person in Australia should know that every government in Australia has their back. I am pleased to note that this bill does make progress in that direction. The mandatory reporting of sexual assault is very important, as I say, to provide confidence to a worker that, when they are going through a tough time, when something has gone wrong in the system, when they have been the victim of something which should never happen, the laws and the framework that are in place are set up to protect them, to look after them and to make sure it never happens again.

I am pleased to support this bill. If you will indulge me for a moment, I would like to reflect that, across my own work journey, I have witnessed and been the victim of bullying at different times. The impact that bullying can have on any worker is significant. It makes it hard to get up in the morning to go to work, to make a contribution. It leaves scars on your family life. It leaves people unable to fully engage in their community and in their workplace.

With sexual assault, those impacts are magnified. People feel powerless. There are real challenges for them to even come forward and share their story. There are real challenges as they seek to fight a battle they should never have to fight. I will be proud to stand any time to try and make sure that, when something goes wrong, it does not happen again.

As I said, the Boland review made great strides in terms of moving towards a better work health and safety framework across the whole country. This bill makes good progress in bringing the ACT along on that journey, and the Canberra Liberals will be supporting it.

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