Page 444 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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(3) WorkSafe ACT has no role in licensing or accrediting private consultants and investigators who might be used by employers to assist them in investigating allegations of bullying. WorkSafe ACT is not aware of any other specific requirements although there may be requirements if the particular consultants are members of professional groups eg psychologists.

Industrial relations—Chinese embassy worksite
(Question No 1970)

Ms Bresnan asked the Minister for Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 8 December 2011:

(1) Do the ACT’s Work Health and Safety laws and Australian industrial relations laws apply at the Chinese Embassy site in Canberra; if not, what is the rationale for this.

(2) Do all workers undertaking construction works at the Chinese Embassy, including those who deliver materials or perform short term jobs at the site, have diplomatic visas, or are Australian residents also working at or entering the site.

(3) If workers at the Chinese Embassy do not fall under the ACT’s Work Health and Safety or Australian industrial relations laws, what protections do apply to prevent workers being killed or injured.

(4) What opportunities for compensation or prosecution exist for any Australian workers killed or injured at the Embassy site.

(5) Are there any other embassies in Canberra where ACT Work Health and Safety laws and/or Australian industrial relations laws do not apply.

(6) What is the ACT Government’s position on the application of ACT Work Health and Safety laws to workers entering the Chinese Embassy, and other Embassies, in Canberra, and what representations has it made to the Federal Government on this issue.

Dr Bourke: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Senior Officers of the ACT have met with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and the National Capital Authority (NCA) to discuss the work being undertaken at the Chinese Embassy. From that meeting, it was established that ACT laws do not apply. This is because if a workplace is located on national land with diplomatic immunities the ACT has no jurisdiction. The Chinese Embassy site has such status.

(2) I am advised that both DFAT and the NCA have confirmed that no Australian workers are allowed on site. DFAT have confirmed that all workers are Chinese citizens who have been granted diplomatic visas to travel to Australia and work on the site.

(3) DFAT and the NCA advise that Chinese officials have committed to comply with ACT building, employment and safety standards and have engaged a local Australian contractor to provide safety advice on how to do so.

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