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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4880 ..

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, was the government’s decision to go down the path of harmonisation before or after Mr Hargreaves expressed his reservations about the issue in July last year?

MS GALLAGHER: My understanding is that that was part of it, and that before agreement had been reached Minister Hargreaves did put those arguments to the ministerial council. In the end a majority of people around the table did not support that, and we accepted that. That is part of moving towards a national system. I know that there is some pressure locally from some of the unions around the right to third-party prosecutions. We have never had reverse onus of proof; we have never supported that here. I understand that there is a desire by some of our unions for us to follow New South Wales along the line of third-party prosecutions; however, we believe that there are rights under common law to access that if individuals choose. Therefore we are very keen to move on with the harmonised OH&S scheme.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister will the Keneally withdrawal from harmonisation affect the implementation of a nationally harmonised OH&S system?

MS GALLAGHER: Not that I have been advised. I had a meeting today. As far as I understand, there is this issue in New South Wales but all other jurisdictions are very keen to press ahead. In health, where we have had WA move outside of some national agreements, that has not stopped the national agreement moving forward.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, are you confident that all states and territories will meet the current 2012 deadline for harmonised laws and when will you introduce legislation into the ACT to do so?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, that is the timetable. As to a date for any legislative reform that we need to bring in, I will have to get back to you on that. I am having my first meeting with the new Work Safety Council tomorrow, where this will be the number one issue for discussion, I imagine. So I will get back to you on that.

Children and young people—education disability services

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, now that some education disability services will be shifted to your department, how will DHCS service these students and their parents?

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