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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4589..


Workplace safety

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations, Ms Gallagher. Minister, you have expressed deep concerns about ACT workplaces, and your intention to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation is, presumably, an illustration of that concern.

In the last two years-you can give general figures, not necessarily precise-how many infringements of the OH&S Act have occurred in the ACT, and what actions have ACT WorkCover had to take against workplaces or individuals for infringements of the OH&S Act?

MS GALLAGHER: I will take the question on notice because there is a wide range of areas under the act in which infringements can be brought. I do not have the detail of the exact numbers, which is the question that you ask. Suffice to say, workplace safety is still an issue for us. We still have prosecutions under the OH&S Act, and there are still workplaces that are not doing the right thing.

As I indicated in the review of the act I released yesterday, we are looking at introducing a whole range of initiatives to make workplace safety easier for all employers and employees. Part of that is a focus on education and voluntary compliance. At the other end-you have related it to industrial manslaughter-situations occur where workplace safety has not been followed and there is an accident or, in the worst-case scenario, a death in the workplace. We will seek to prosecute that in the hardest possible way.

Housing affordability

MS TUCKER: My question is for the Treasurer and it relates to the use to be made of the surplus revenue generated by the recently extremely high house-sale prices in the ACT. Given that the recent very high house prices have contributed both to the government's surplus revenue, through stamp duty, and to the housing affordability crisis, given that the government has committed to at least maintaining housing stocks-and we heard the minister today acknowledge how important it is to actually increase public housing stocks-and given the importance of addressing the housing crisis, will the Treasurer consider investing at least some of this surplus in the construction of new public housing?

MR QUINLAN: I thank Ms Tucker for the question. Contrary to popular conception, the Treasurer does not decide where the money goes. The government decides where expenditure is made. We are now just entering our budget process, and I guess what I can say is that all will be revealed as the budget comes down or as the government makes decisions in relation to public housing and community housing following on from the report that was debated.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Treasurer, can you confirm that it is still the view of the Treasury, the Treasurer or the government that the best use for unexpected surpluses is to invest in capital works?


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