Page 2341 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Assembly met at 10 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Work Health and Safety Bill 2011

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

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Treasurer) (10.02): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I introduce the Work Health and Safety Bill 2011. As the Assembly knows, the government are committed to ensuring the safety of all workers in the ACT. The government are determined to provide an environment for workers that is safe and healthy, protects them from injury and illness and provides for their physical and psychological needs. We are also committed to ensuring that businesses in the ACT are able to operate with confidence and reduced red tape and compliance costs while continuing to ensure the safety of their workers.

The bill forms part of the national reform agenda that will result in harmonised workplace safety laws across Australia and is particularly important for the businesses here that operate across the border into New South Wales and beyond. The bill is based on a model bill that was developed through consultation with industry, unions, all states and territories and the general public before being endorsed by the Workplace Relations Ministerial Council.

In the territory we are fortunate that we introduced the Work Safety Act in 2008. That act was developed in the knowledge of the work being done to harmonise occupational health and safety and, as such, the changes to our present regime will be minimal. Those businesses who are complying with the Work Safety Act will find that there will be no need to change their operations to comply with this bill. Reducing the complexity and duplication caused by Australia’s multiple workplace health and safety regimes will benefit all businesses.

As is usually the case when a significant piece of legislation is implemented, amendments to other acts are needed to ensure consistency in both terminology and policy terms. Most importantly, this involves formally repealing the Work Safety Act 2008. I also intend to bring forward further bills that will see the repeal of the

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