Page 2922 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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other insurers to settle claims and to act on behalf of the uninsured employer that it indemnifies. This anomaly results in delays in workers receiving their workers compensation entitlements, takes up precious court time and distracts the fund manager from the core business of overseeing benefits and care for injured workers, and from the recovery of costs from those employers not doing the right thing.

The proposed changes will bring the DI fund manager’s powers into line with those exercised by all private sector workers compensation insurers. In particular, it will enable the DI fund manager to conduct proceedings and settle claims without the consent of the uninsured employer. To protect the interests of the employer, the provisions require the fund manager to take reasonable steps to contact the employer and take into consideration the views, if any, of the employer in the conduct of the matter. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Work Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

Mr Hargreaves, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (10.13): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, today I introduce the Work Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2009. The Work Safety Act 2008 was passed by the Sixth Assembly on 28 August last year. The commencement of this act, on 1 October 2009, will represent a key milestone in the history of occupational health and safety in the territory.

The act provides a modern set of laws that reflect the realities of working and doing business in the territory. The tabling of this bill comes at a time when all governments across Australia are continuing to work cooperatively to harmonise occupational health and safety laws. The Workplace Relations Ministers Council has commissioned the drafting of model OHS laws. The earliest these laws will be implemented is in 2012. While the ACT government is strongly committed to this work, the current ACT legislation needs to be replaced now.

The work safety regime aims to secure the safety of people at work. This will be achieved through the management of risk and the provision of an environment for workers that is safe and healthy; protects them from injury and illness and provides for their physical and psychological needs. The regime fosters cooperation and consultation between employers and workers and the organisations representing them. It provides a framework for continuous improvement and progressively higher standards of work safety to take account of changes in technology and work practices.

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