Page 82 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012
MR SESELJA: Minister, over the last 11 years you have put forward numerous changes to legislation in relation to work safety. Yet at the end of that, we have the worst safety record in the country in the construction sector. The question is: how have you allowed it to get so bad and what confidence can the community have that this time, after 11 years, these reforms will actually work?
MR CORBELL: Of course Mr Seselja’s question implies that the responsibility is wholly on the government, and that is not what the report authors have said. The report authors have said very clearly that industry must own this problem. The report authors have said very clearly that there is no one reason why we are in these circumstances. But what they have also said is that without leadership on the part of the industry, contractors, their relationships with subcontractors, their relationships with unions, we are not going to achieve the improvements we need to see.
The government said very clearly yesterday that we are prepared to shoulder our responsibilities and do more in our area of responsibility, which is regulation and enforcement. That is why we have committed to the actions that I outlined yesterday and in my answer to the previous question.
But there is also a task ahead of us, for the contractors, for the construction companies, for the managing directors down. They need to also see that safety is not a burden, safety is an obligation. Safety is a moral obligation, not just a legal obligation. We should not accept that there are businesses in this town that do not see safety as a priority and do not factor it into the way that they do their work.
We should not accept that as an acceptable approach on the part of a company. A company, first and foremost, should have absolute regard to the health and wellbeing of its employees and its contractors and subcontractors. That is the clear and overwhelming message from this report.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Minister, when will the government provide its formal response to this report?
MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary question. The government is committed to providing a detailed response to each recommendation of the inquiry’s report by the end of February next year. This will be a comprehensive response and will demonstrate our commitment to tackling these issues. It will be developed in consultation with and informed by the feedback of stakeholders in the industry, particularly employer groups, unions and workers themselves.
MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development. Minister, on 27 August 2012 in response to the Canberra Liberals announcement of a garden waste bin, you were quoted in the Canberra City News as saying that the “cost would be $19 million per year”. Subsequently, on 18 October