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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3921 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Management Act for the employment of the staff of the authority. It is the expectation of the Government that the existing WorkCover staff deployed on functions transferring to the authority will be transferred with these functions at no detriment. The independent authority then has its own staff to carry out the functions they are charged with. They are independent of the Government, unlike Mr Berry's commissioner, who will beholden to the department of the day for resources as is required. (Extension of time granted)

It is also the Government's desire that the new authority would then continue to pursue best practice in regulation, education and enforcement. To that end, the authority will be charged with establishing core competencies for inspectorial and administrative staff of the authority at a level that satisfies reasonable expectations of a competent regulatory agency. The further process is that the Government will, upon the passage of this Bill, consult further with staff, stakeholders and members of the Assembly to ensure that the authority is unencumbered in identifying its consultative mechanisms that enable a collaborative and inclusive approach to its operation.

Resourcing the authority will also be important to ensure its effectiveness. Through the Government's commitment to implementing a draft budget process, all stakeholders will have an opportunity to consider the resources proposed for the authority. The period of consultation will enable any consequential amendments, if they are necessary, to be identified and they can be dealt with early in the year 2000. What we have here is an independent framework. What we have is a framework that meets the needs of the workers of the ACT to ensure their occupational health and safety. It also meets the needs as outlined by the coroner, which Mr Berry's Bill does not. The Bill demonstrates, firstly, the Government's determination to deliver to the community a first-class, properly independent WorkCover authority. Secondly, it embraces the coroner's recommendation in his report on the inquest into the death of Katie Bender to have an independent statutory authority.

I commend the Bill to the house. This is a good Bill, and it is based on legislation that currently works in the ACT, particularly the Cultural Facilities Corporation, and Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation. We drew heavily upon their Acts to make sure that we had a model that we know will work for the ACT. This is the way to go. The independent commissioner will not achieve what the ACT needs.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement pursuant to standing order 47.

MR SPEAKER: Do you claim to have been misrepresented?

MR BERRY: Yes, I do.

MR SPEAKER: Please proceed.

MR BERRY: Mr Smyth drew particular attention to the staffing arrangements under both pieces of legislation. He attempted to have us believe that there was something different between the Government's legislation and the legislation which has been put forward by me. They are almost identical. I wish Mr Smyth would not try these sorts

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