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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1686 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

(3) to be the agency representing the ACTGS on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission; and

(4) to have appropriate and effective enforcement powers in relation to compliance with notices issued to ACTGS agencies.

Mr Speaker, that recommendation is extremely timely, given the attempts by the Government to move to amend the public service legislation, which would result in the politicisation of our public service. The policing of OH and S and rehabilitation has to be at arm's length from the general stream of management. That came through in the course of the inquiry. With hindsight, an inquiry at an earlier time may well have been helpful. I am not wishing to sheet the blame home to the Government for not having an inquiry. I just think, having gone through all of the issues, that it may have been timely to have had it earlier; but we have had it, and I think the recommendations are worth while and will assist in the provision of better services for workers in the Territory.

Another important recommendation is:

That the Government accept the Comcare offer to participate in a joint management of Comcare operations and in the development of a whole of government premium reduction strategy.

Mr De Domenico: We have done that. It is up to Mr Johns, now, to approve it.

MR BERRY: That is very good.

Mr De Domenico: It is up to Mr Johns to approve it, though. We will see what he has to say.

MR BERRY: You may write to Mr Johns and provide him with this reinforcement. Another recommendation is that the Government seek the immediate appointment of an ACT government representative to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission. That is an important feature, Mr Speaker, because the commission is a consultative arrangement to deal with compensation provisions for the Federal Government and the Territory. (Extension of time granted) Thank you, members.

We have a range of recommendations which, if implemented, will result in reducing the cost to the Government and the ACT taxpayer, and, most importantly, will result in a better quality of life for workers who are injured. They will also offer better protection for workers in the workplace. They will enable officers concerned with occupational health and safety and rehabilitation to work in their profession of securing workplace safety and the early resumption of work by injured workers. They will also allow this Assembly to take into account the performance of the separate authority which we have recommended against the background of the services provided by Comcare over a period of time. We can sit down soberly and ensure that all of the issues which are of concern to us as a community are dealt with.

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