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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (16 April) . . Page.. 902 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

In summary, what I would like to do is thank the members of the committee - Mr Berry, Mr Moore and Mr Hird - for seeing fit to agree to the Government's way of resolving the issue and making sure that we achieved the outcome that we were all concerned about. I believe that this legislation will make sure that we get the best possible outcomes up. I will close my remarks there and then speak to the amendment.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail Stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism) (11.25): I move:

Page 2, line 19, clause 4, paragraph (b), after proposed new paragraph (f) insert the following paragraph:

"(fa) the operation of legislation, including legislation of the Commonwealth, that governs occupational rehabilitation or workers' compensation in relation to public employees;".

The amendment which I put before the Assembly today, which was distributed some time ago, seeks to further expand the role of the Occupational Health and Safety Council to provide the Minister with advice on workers compensation and occupation rehabilitation matters in the public sector. In considering the recommendations of the Assembly Select Committee on Workers Compensation Provisions and the Government's own review, it is clear that improving workers compensation management within the Public Service is a major priority, not just for this Government but for all members of this Assembly.

The Government welcomes the observations in both reports highlighting the need for improved injury prevention and management across the whole of the public sector and is committed to ensuring that everything that can be done to bring this about is done. The way to improve injury prevention and management in the Public Service is to hold managers more accountable and to ensure that they use the resources at their disposal in the best possible way to prevent injuries in the first place. When injuries do occur, managers must be accountable for ensuring that rehabilitation arrangements are put in place quickly to get staff brought back to work effectively and, above all, safely, so that employees are not reinjured.

The Government has already commenced a wide range of projects that are aimed at improving injury prevention and management. Agreement has been reached with Comcare Australia to second an experienced officer from their ACT State office, at the senior executive level, to work with staff of the Chief Minister's Department

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