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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1803 ..

Work safety—young workers

MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Cody, a question without notice.

Opposition members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Members! Ms Cody has the call for a question without notice.

Mr Wall interjecting—


MS CODY: It is difficult; I could not hear myself think, let alone ask my question.

Opposition members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Members! On the next outburst that person will be warned.

MS CODY: My question is to the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations. Minister, what is the ACT government currently doing to improve safety for young workers in the ACT?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Cody for her question and for her deep and abiding interest in workers’ safety. The safety of our young and most inexperienced workers is, of course, a high priority for the ACT government, as it should be for all employers also. We know young workers are at risk for a range of reasons: they may not fully understand their health and safety rights and responsibilities or where to go if they have questions or concerns; they may be worried they will look silly if they ask questions or question why something is done in a particular way if they believe it is not safe; or they may simply believe they are invincible, as young people tend to do, highlighting the need for proper supervision of young workers.

Young workers were the focus of this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which was themed “Generation Safe and Healthy”. I was honoured to represent the government at a moving ceremony held at the National Workers Memorial in Commonwealth Park on Saturday, 28 April, which is both World Day for Safety and Health at Work and also International Workers Memorial Day. The event was not only an opportunity to honour those who have died or been seriously injured at work and to pay respect to them, their families and friends and co-workers, but also to focus on workplace health and safety for young workers and future generations.

This focus of ensuring the health and safety of young workers is, as I have said, shared by the ACT government. WorkSafe ACT is currently undertaking a proactive audit across a range of high risk industries for apprentices, looking at issues such as supervision and safety to improve safety outcomes and understanding. I understand that approximately 40 workplaces have been visited so far, with the audit to continue well into this year. In addition WorkSafe is also working closely with SafeWork NSW to improve compliance and strengthen the safety culture throughout the construction industry in Canberra.

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