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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4649 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

being done by ACT WorkCover in supporting and educating these representatives and their managers shows that we are on the right track.

I congratulate the winners of the ACT OH&S awards and commend the other entrants who developed such worthwhile safety initiatives that help promote zero tolerance of work-caused injuries and illness in the ACT.

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.33): I begin by thanking Ms MacDonald for bringing this matter to the Assembly. I was very pleased to open the proceedings and present the 13th annual ACT Occupational Health and Safety awards earlier this year. The event is important because it provides an opportunity to encourage, support and promote OH&S in the ACT, and also to publicly recognise the people and organisations that have achieved excellence in practical OH&S solutions.

This year there was a 61 per cent increase in the number of nominations received. Sponsorship support was also strong. The success of this year's event has already attracted a number of organisations keen to participate in future WorkCover education, information and promotional programs and next year's OH&S awards. As other speakers have said, there were nine award categories and an overall excellence award.

I presented the OH&S excellence award to the winner, the Oz Help foundation. In a field of outstanding nominations, Oz Help's initiative to prevent suicide stood out because it addressed deeply entrenched cultural issues in the building and construction industry. The program was developed in response to the tragic death of a 23-year-old apprentice carpenter. Suicide is a major problem in Australia, particularly amongst men aged 15 to 24. It ranks as the second leading cause of death in this age group.

Oz Help foundation have developed a new resilience-building program that provides a building-industry-friendly service to apprentices and workers in the industry. The program has been developed as a strategic alliance between the ACT branches of the MBA and the CFMEU. I certainly extend my congratulations to both those organisations for that excellent program.

The awards are an important part of promoting health and safety in the ACT, and this is very important because, while we often hear bad news in the media about workplace accidents, it is easy to overlook the enormous effort and positive achievements of local businesses, employees and the government in this area. The ACT is now leading a national Occupational Health and Safety Commission project to establish national workplace health and safety awards which are building on the success of our own awards.

I congratulate all the winners and the many other businesses and public sector agencies who received commendation for their safety initiatives. I would also like to congratulate the OH&S Council and WorkCover for another successful OH&S awards event.

In relation to Ms Tucker's amendment: I think it is a sensible amendment and certainly one that the government will support today. I think it is fair to say that the government is pushing forward with a very progressive OH&S reform package, some of which has been announced yesterday, but also through the introduction of industrial manslaughter

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