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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 31 July 2018) . . Page.. 2451 ..


obligation to ensure the election and training of health and safety representatives and committees is on workers.

Madam Deputy Speaker, this bill shifts that obligation. It places additional obligations on the principal contractors to ensure effective, consistent consultation on major construction projects. The bill requires principal contractors for major construction projects to facilitate the election and suitable training of health and safety representatives, as well as the establishment and training of health and safety committees. These changes will further enshrine the roles of health and safety representatives and health and safety committees.

I remember what does not seem that long ago seeing my dad’s old BLF posters hanging around the house: “No ticket, no start” and “No pyramid contracting”. Alas, those days are long gone. Our construction industry is rife with pyramid contracting. Whilst we will have more to say about wage theft in the future, right now I am proud to be supporting a bill that will ensure principal contractors cannot cop out of their responsibilities for safety. There will be no copping out.

If you are the one making big money on site then you are responsible. It is pretty simple. This bill places these additional obligations on principal contractors for major construction projects, because they set the standard at a construction site. They significantly influence the workplace culture and are ultimately responsible for the safety of all on the construction site.

Supporting the roles of health and safety representatives and health and safety committees will ensure our legislation is robust and effective. These representatives and committees both play key roles in ensuring consistent, genuine consultation in workplaces. They provide support to workers and management and lift the standard of management of work health and safety in workplaces.

Health and safety representatives are elected by workers in a work group to represent their health and safety interests. Health and safety representatives are equipped with a range of powers that help them ensure health and safety. They can monitor compliance with work health and safety obligations, investigate work group members’ complaints about work health and safety matters and look into anything that poses a risk to the health and safety of work group members. They can also be present at interviews concerning work health and safety, accompany inspectors during inspections, and seek assistance from any person to resolve health and safety issues in their workplace, including their union representatives.

This bill will ensure that there are health and safety representatives on every major construction project. Right now, despite the important role they play, this is not the case. It also ensures they are properly trained, giving them the confidence often needed to effectively perform their role. Once appropriately trained, health and safety representatives can direct for unsafe work to cease where the situation warrants it.

Madam Deputy Speaker, this bill also makes it compulsory for a principal contractor to establish a health and safety committee for a major construction project and to ensure the committee attends suitable training. A health and safety committee is a


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