Page 1993 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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about preventing exposure, using a combination of control measures and ensuring all workers have completed their awareness training, are being delivered to ACT
duty holders.

The regulator has seen an increase in calls from the public, unions and workers about the dry-cutting practices and silica dust. This shows that our reforms are doing their job and are getting the message out about the safety standards expected of businesses working with crystalline silica materials. We are taking effective actions to prevent a devastating disease.

The government has also pursued reforms in how workplaces ensure the psychosocial health and safety of their workers. As pointed out by the WHS Commissioner at a recent committee hearing, the devastation of silicosis is not limited to the physical impacts of the disease. Silica dust exposure poses risks to the physical and psychological safety of workers, and the combination of these impacts needs to be addressed as such.

Factors including how work is managed to support wellbeing, relationships and work, and responses to bullying and harassment will be an increasingly important focus of work health and safety practitioners, businesses, governments and regulators. By the end of this year, this government will be implementing amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulations that clearly identify work health and safety duties for managing psychosocial risks. Importantly, this work will place psychosocial hazards on an equal playing field with risks to physical health and safety.

This government will always protect the rights of territory workers and strive to improve working conditions for all workers. This is a government that stands up for the security and safety of working people and we will continue to ensure our work safety laws are effective.

I present the following paper:

Silica Dust Safety Reforms Update—Ministerial statement, 28 June 2023.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (10.10): I thank Mr Gentleman for that update on silica dust. As was observed by my colleague Tammy Franks of the South Australian Legislative Council in December last year, it took 70 years for Australia to ban all forms of asbestos. We need to learn from that disaster and act to ban artificial stone. We know that the ACTU is intensifying its calls for a ban on engineered stone. As their assistant secretary Liam O’Brien has pointed out:

Engineered stone is a fashion product that is killing the workers who make it.

The CFMEU are threatening green bans over the issue, and rightly so. While I welcome the significant work that has been done to regulate and reduce the harm of silica dust, I want to emphasise the urgency of addressing this issue. I call upon the WorkSafe ACT launched “Silica Saturdays” on social media where key messages

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