Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2863 ..
MR PRATT: I did so. Shall we bring out the Hansard? I presume they meant bringing administrative efficiencies in time spent and documentation prepared during workplace negotiations. Efficiencies there may be, but this is some sort of ground zero efficiency-one which would otherwise relate to lazy management.
Mr Deputy Speaker, management should manage its people as individuals, with dignity and, where justified, prepare individual awards which meet the needs and aspirations of both the organisation and the individual. If the workers desire to have a union represent them, that is fine-and beaut. Instead, we are now going to have the unions standing over everyone's shoulders. My concern about the government's flagged intention to reduce the existing range of EBAs and phase out all AWAs is that they are exercising administrative laziness-they continue to avoid the tough decisions, with respect, to keep the unions in their correct professional place. They are causing a detrimental effect on productivity. They are turning back the industrial relations clock and, most importantly, they are removing fairness from their employee administration.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.05): Mr Deputy Speaker, in reply, I will put the government's position on a number of issues raised by members in this debate.
First of all, in relation to the comments made by both Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas regarding ACT WorkCover: yes, the government has substantially increased funding for ACT WorkCover. That has been driven primarily by the changes to the Workers Compensation Act and, in addition, the implementation of the infringement notice scheme following amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Both of these are core pieces of legislation, when it comes to workplace safety and protecting the rights and entitlements of workers injured in the workplace. The need for this funding is highlighted by the substantive changes which have occurred to both the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the past couple of years. They are important measures, if we are to give any effect at all to the legislation which has been endorsed by this Assembly.
Ms Dundas raised the issue of employees injured when travelling to and from work, and that WorkCover could not necessarily identify this. Ms Dundas, this issue is not unique to the ACT. It is commonplace for injuries sustained in journeys to and from work-or even in the course of the person's work-to not always be regarded as workplace injuries, if the person is involved in an accident and is either injured as a result of that car accident or, regrettably, killed.
That is an issue which requires a greater level of awareness, on the part of both employees and employers-to properly identify whether or not an accident, or a death arising from a motor vehicle accident, is a workplace injury.
ACT WorkCover has been one of the best regulatory agencies in the country, in advancing and providing information to employers on their responsibilities in relation to workers compensation, occupational health and safety, and a range of other issues.