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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1804 ..


MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the supplementary, members on my left, it is permissible to have quiet conversations, but you may need to be aware of what is going on around you. As you were chatting and laughing, the question asked was about workplace deaths. I do not think it is appropriate for some conversations to occur given the content of some of the answers. A supplementary, Ms Cody.

MS CODY: Minister, what work is being undertaken to inform the next steps in relation to improving the safety of young workers and ensuring their workplace rights are upheld?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you, Madam Speaker; and thank you also for your comments. I thank Ms Cody for her supplementary question. In August 2017, following a number of concerning workplace incidents involving young workers, I requested that the Work Safety Council establish an apprentice and young workers safety advisory committee to consider the next steps to ensure that apprentices and young people are working in safe environments and are aware of their workplace safety rights and obligations.

Since its establishment the committee, which is a tripartite body, has extensively engaged with stakeholders from employer and employee groups, training organisations, the community sector and government. Meetings have been dedicated to issues impacting young workers in hospitality, construction and plumbing, business services, community services, electrical and retail industries. I am expecting the committee’s report early in the second half of the year. I look forward to it providing me with recommendations for action to improve young worker health and safety.

While government can set the frameworks to support safety in workplaces and on worksites, we need industry, regulators, industry groups, employers, unions and workers to work together to lift safety across all industries and ensure worker safety is a primary consideration for employers and employees alike.

No young person should feel that their job is a place where their safety, their health or indeed their mental health is at risk. No parent should worry that they might one day receive a call that their child has been seriously injured at work. It is imperative that we keep strengthening our safety practices, especially as the next generation of Canberrans gets their start in the workforce.

MS ORR: Minister, what else is impacting on the workplace rights and safety of young workers in the ACT?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. Safety and security issues concerning the wider workforce are magnified for many young workers who are starting their careers and trying to get ahead. The rise of insecure work, including the casualisation of the workforce and the emergence of the gig economy, are particularly pertinent issues for young workers.

The ACT government is committed to doing what it can to ensure that young workers are safe in their place of employment and are treated fairly, paid well and have their rights at work upheld.


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