Page 1823 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005
estimated that more than 200 trade unionists are killed or disappear every year; 8,500 are arrested; 3,000 injured; and almost 20,000 fired for fighting for improved basic working conditions. Those workers and unionists fighting for change are not immune.
In Australia, around 440 workers are killed each year in work-related incidents. Work-related diseases such as cancer and asbestosis cause an additional 2,300 deaths every year. In the 12 months ending September 2000, almost half a million people reported a work-related injury or illness. In considering these statistics, it is very important to know that many are not reported for fear of reprisal; and yet the national OH&S commission estimates that the vast majority of work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses are preventable.
The ACT government has worked hard to address these serious issues of workplace injuries, deaths and illnesses for workers and their families in the ACT. This change has been brought about by organising and agitating for change and through wide consultation among the Canberra community, our businesses, our unions and our families. While we are not there yet, we are on the way. It is so important that we not only recognise tragedy that has befallen workers on the job but also that these tragedies continue to occur and that there is still more to fight for.
The international day of mourning presents us with an opportunity to remember, to realise and to commemorate the tragedy and the struggle for more decent and safer workplaces. Last Thursday, across Australia and across the world, unions, workers and their families and friends gathered to remember the men and women who were killed or injured at work or became sick from exposure to hazardous substances, were tortured in prison, murdered or oppressed because of their trade union activities and who suffered degradation, pollution or destruction to their communities due to unsustainable work practices.
The aim of the international day of mourning is to remember the dead and to fight for the living. As a day of remembrance for workers killed and injured on the job, it is an enduring symbol of our commitment to protest, to organise against unsustainable work practices and to struggle for the rights and the dignity of working people.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.10): Mr Speaker, I was very pleased on Saturday, 23 April, to go to the Canberra region farmers market. The farmers market was celebrating its first birthday. It takes place every Saturday, between about 8 o’clock and 11 o’clock—am, that is—and I must say that it has become something that is absolutely institutional for a lot of Canberra people. I met people there who travelled from Tuggeranong to the National Exhibition Centre. I think that is quite a journey, and it actually raises questions of sustainability in terms of using up a lot of petrol to go and get locally produced food. Seriously, we all do that anyway.
It has been Greens policy for a long time that we have a local food market. It is very important because of the issues of sustainability, for a start, and of making sure that we consume food that is grown as close as possible to where it is consumed. People will be aware of the ecological footprint measure that was used in the sustainability report, the name of which I cannot remember because it is so late in the day, which was produced