Page 67 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2012

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service, as Minister for Industrial Relations? If no, why? If yes, what changes have you made and what are you doing to develop a new culture throughout the service to eliminate workplace bullying, which is someone’s responsibility?

DR BOURKE: I do refer to my previous answer. In relation to workplace bullying in general, as members are aware, all territory workplaces are required to comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the code of practice for preventing and responding to bullying at work. Workplace bullying will not be tolerated. The ACT public service aims to create a positive work environment for staff that is free from discrimination, harassment and bullying. Formal mechanisms to prevent and respond to workplace bullying are included in the ACT public service respect, equity and diversity framework. This framework, commonly known amongst public servants as the RED, provides policy guidance, procedures and training to reinforce the public service code of conduct and sets standards of leadership to promote equity, diversity and respect in the workplace. The framework also includes the establishment and training of key personnel as contact officers to act as a first point of contact for staff and to provide support and guidance to supervisors and managers in their efforts to eradicate bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Work safety

MS LE COUTEUR: I refer to the recent reported comments by a safety and risk assessment consultant that the ACT’s approach to work safety is not focused enough on cultural change or on developing a work safety culture. What is the government’s response to this and how will it ensure that work safety culture issues are sufficiently prioritised?

DR BOURKE: Modern work health and safety laws include the model Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which is a duty-based legislation that does in fact focus on cultural change and creating a work safety culture. This is evident through a number of provisions, including the principal safety duties, the obligations to consult all workers on health and safety issues, the positive duty of care on senior officers and the tripartite approach to work health and safety through including workers, persons in control of workplaces and worker representatives.

I would object to any comment that suggested that the legislative framework for work health and safety does not encourage cultural change and development of a real culture of safety. As members are aware, WorkSafe ACT is responsible for enforcing the Work Health and Safety Act. While the Attorney-General is the minister responsible for WorkSafe ACT, the Work Safety Commissioner has advised me that in his opinion the report to which Ms Le Couteur refers is not correct. The commissioner has advised that work safety inspectors do stress the importance of a safety culture in their regular dealings with workplaces.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, do WorkSafe ACT and the office of IR have sufficient resources to be able to address work safety culture issues, as well as to respond to incidents, noting that the Hawke review raised resourcing as an issue in IR?

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