Page 3882 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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Crimes (Bill Posting) Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 11 December 2008, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Motion (by Mr Hargreaves) agreed to:

That order of the day No 1, Executive business, relating to the Crimes (Bill Posting) Amendment Bill 2008, be postponed until a later hour this day.

Work Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

Debate resumed from 25 June 2009, on motion by Mr Hargreaves:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.26): The opposition will be supporting this bill, save one element, which I will address later. The bill provides the vehicle for a range of routine provisions needed as a consequence of the Work Safety Act 2008, which I will now refer to as the act, and which commences on 1 October 2009. In addition, it facilitates the transition arrangement that introduces a number of more substantive provisions.

As with the act, the bill will come into effect on 1 October or later, if notified. It repeals the existing OH&S laws, regulations and instruments. There is a range of non-contentious, consequential and transitional provisions, as well as minor amendments relating to matters that require clarification and to ensure consistency. The bill also provides for incorporation of related documents, allowing the regulations to keep pace with changes to best practice; for example, Australian Standards. The bill also protects a member of a work safety committee from civil liability for accident or omissions done honestly and without recklessness.

Among the more substantive provisions is one that expands the sharing of information. The principal change is to enable information to be shared with another person administering a corresponding law, a defined term, within the Office of Regulatory Services, across other territory agencies and with interstate jurisdictions and the commonwealth where that sharing is in the interests of work or public safety.

The bill introduces two offences. The first reframes offences under the current Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989 in relation to obstruction of work and safety representatives. The second protects the privacy of a worker’s personal health information, including an employer from disclosing that information to a work safety representative without the employee’s consent.

Of concern to the opposition is proposed new section 55A, which the bill would insert into the act. It is an extension to the existing provisions enabling the chief executive to direct an individual employer to establish a health and safety committee if the chief executive is satisfied that the employer’s workplace is hazardous and that the

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