Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3194 ..
The bill replaces the specialist review authority, which has never been convened, with a two-tier review mechanism. The Chief Executive of the Department of Justice and Community Safety or the appropriate minister will be the initial reviewer, and the Civil and Administrative Tribunal is to fulfil the function of the external reviewer.
The bill will give codes of practice formal evidentiary status. This will enable courts to consider compliance with a code in order to establish whether a safety duty has been met. The bill introduces balanced provisions so that directors and senior officers of corporations who breach the legislation will be liable for their actions. Unlike the NSW provisions, for liability to attach to individual officers, the prosecution must prove that the officer was reckless as to whether the breach would occur, was in a position to influence the conduct of the corporation, and failed to take reasonable steps to influence the conduct of the corporation.
The bill includes a 14-day time frame for the production of documents to an authorised representative. The current provisions for authorised representatives have not changed, and much of the detail will be moved to the regulations. The provisions will allow representatives of employee and employer organisations with members or potential members in a workplace to enter work premises where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a contravention of the legislation has happened, is happening or is likely to happen.
Lastly, the current Occupational Health and Safety Council and the Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner will be renamed in line with the bill. These provisions are largely reproduced in the bill with modifications necessary to address the revised scope and structure of the bill.
The bill has taken several years to develop and provides important and comprehensive protection for workers in the territory. The bill balances the interests of workers and business and will provide a measured, future-focused approach to work safety. Because this is such a significant bill, the government will seek its passage before the Assembly rises. I assure members that my office and department officials are available for briefing as often as members desire, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Seselja) adjourned to the next sitting.
Housing Assistance Amendment Bill 2008
Debate resumed from 7 August 2008.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.47): I seek leave to move amendments Nos 3 and 4 circulated in my name together.