Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4879 ..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
...there should have been a review which specifically assessed whether the Bill was genuinely necessary or whether reform of existing remedies could have achieved a better outcome.
Why do we not build on the things that we already have? The Australian Industry Group goes on to state:
The Bill is vague and imprecise in its application and scope.
The Bill has significant potential for unintended and unfair consequences.
This Bill introduces a new concept unlikely to get the balance right even if it was necessary.
Have members thought about the fact that this bill, as a new law, is open to interpretation? The Australian Industry Group finally states:
Approaches in other jurisdictions that focus on broad based risk management systems, education and, where necessary, reviewing existing sanctions have been more successful.
This proposed legislation, which is adversarial in nature, is not consistent with the underpinning themes of the national occupational health and safety strategy, to which this government is a signatory.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (8.21): Mr Hargreaves, in his contribution to debate on the Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill, said that this was "just legislation". Will this proposed legislation come into effect only after someone is dead? It cannot assist someone who is dead and it cannot bring that person back to life. This government should have introduced legislation to prevent workplace deaths.
Ms Gallagher: Exactly.
MR SMYTH: The minister said that we should enact legislation to stop workplace deaths. As I said earlier, this legislation will not bring back to life those people who have died. Ms MacDonald said in debate on this bill that we should not tolerate employer negligence or the avoidance of work practices that could result in the death of a worker.
Is the minister guilty of that same negligence and avoidance? Mr Corbell, who was Minister for Industrial Relations for a year, did nothing in that portfolio. Perhaps the same charges could be leveled at Ms Gallagher. While she has been Minister for Industrial Relations the only bill that we have had to deal with is a bill that will punish someone after the event. Questions that were asked of her on Tuesday, which she answered yesterday, revealed the low level of government activity in the occupational health and safety area.
Yesterday the minister revealed some startling facts about an issue that I am sure was picked up by Mr Speaker. The minister said that not one on-the-spot fine had been issued by this government for breaches of occupational health and safety legislation. She must have forgotten to tell us the number yesterday. Perhaps she will leap to her feet today and tell us how many fines have been issued. I understood from her answer yesterday and