Page 81 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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significant reforms to the territory’s own procurement processes for capital works projects, including introducing the active certification approach, which has been under close development in my colleague Minister Barr’s portfolio for a number of months, as well as establishing comparative assessment of contractors’ safety records when taking account of their bids for government work.

Finally, we will take steps to provide for improved registration arrangements for engineers, firstly through pursuing national reform and seeking agreement to national reform for national registration schemes for the engineering profession and also to provide that, in relation to ACT government jobs, these engineers demonstrate their current registration on the relevant register wherever it is applicable.

These are important and immediate short-term steps, but there is much more work to be done in this sector, and, in particular, we will need the leadership and we will need the advocacy of those who work in the sector—the contractors, the employers, as well as the workers and their unions—if we are going to attack the problems we currently see with death and injury in the ACT’s workplaces.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, how will the government work with the unions and the ACT construction industry and its representative bodies to make the required cultural shift to a safer and more positive environment on construction sites?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Berry for the supplementary. First and foremost, I will be convening a meeting of the ACT’s Work Safety Council, which is the formal statutory body representing employers, workers and third parties when it comes to the regulation of work safety in the territory. The purpose of that meeting will be to win that body’s support for the reforms outlined in the report and to help inform the government’s more detailed response next year.

I was very pleased yesterday to learn that unions, in particular the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the other building trades group unions, and the employer groups, particularly the MBA, had already had an informal discussion about how they together can join forces to do the work and put in place the leadership that is needed at their level to drive change in this sector.

What is very telling about the report issued yesterday is that it does not just put the onus and the responsibility on the government. Indeed Ms Briggs in her comments yesterday made it very clear that employers in particular must own this problem because under the law it is the employer who has the overwhelming statutory duty to ensure that their workplace is safe. Her message, loud and clear, is that the industry must own this problem and must put in place the leadership and processes within their own businesses to drive a safe work environment and culture. That is the only way we are going to make sure that men and women who work in our construction sector are able to get home safely at the end of the day, get home without injury and get home without facing the prospect of losing their life.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja.

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