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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4645 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

There are also other quite disturbing developments. I noticed in the paper on the weekend an advertisement for a bricklayer's assistant stating that the person would be hired only if they have their own ABN number. It is part of employment practices that are shifting the responsibility in every way possible towards the individual worker.

In that context, it is particularly important that inspections can and do proceed. So my amendment recognises that WorkCover could have more resources to improve the work that they do, be effective and make a difference to workplaces in the ACT.

MR PRATT (11.20): I rise to congratulate, on this occasion, ACT WorkCover. At the outset I would say that I also would support Ms Tucker's amendment. I think it is important that we do see an increased regime of ACT WorkCover inspections. Indeed, that relates to a question that I asked in this place. Mr Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of ACT WorkCover in Canberra for both employers and employees. This issue has been raised by my colleague Mrs Burke, who did indeed, I recall, celebrate the OH&S awards on that day in the adjournment debate. She was quick to acknowledge that quite significant occasion.

Mr Speaker, ACT WorkCover is not only responsible for the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 but also administers the Dangerous Goods Act 1975, the Scaffolding and Lifts Act 1912 and the Machinery Act 1949. All of these acts, administered by ACT WorkCover, assist in establishing and maintaining a safe working environment for both employers and employees.

Mr Speaker, ACT WorkCover promotes OH&S in the ACT through the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989. ACT WorkCover ensures, Mr Speaker, that employers, employees, people supervising a workplace, self-employed people, manufacturers, repairers and suppliers carry out their responsibilities which minimise the risk of injuries in, near or around workplaces. This alone, Mr Speaker, deserves good, solid congratulations.

Mr Speaker, the work of ACT WorkCover inspectors going into workplaces to proactively check and promote safety is vital work, and that underlines why I support Ms Tucker's amendment to this motion. Mr Speaker, I am keen to get the minister's answer to my question of yesterday on just how-

Ms Gallagher: You'll get it, Steve.

MR PRATT: It is not that I am impatient, Minister; it is just this is a wonderful opportunity to remind the house of my question yesterday on just how effective the ACT WorkCover inspections are and how the compliance program is going. A robust, ordered program is very important, and I do hope the minister keeps the pressure on to ensure that WorkCover keeps it up.

It is with some irony, Mr Speaker, that I note the minister announcing policy changes yesterday which foreshadowed a strong right-of-entry program for unions in the workplace.

Mrs Burke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I am finding it very difficult to hear Mr Pratt. There's a lot of crossfire. Give the guy a chance here. You got your time, girl.

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