Page 703 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013

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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Construction industry inquiry report—government response

Paper and statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development): Madam Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:

“Getting Home Safely”—Inquiry into compliance with work health and safety requirements in the ACT’s construction industry—Government response.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Today I am tabling the government response to the inquiry into compliance with work health and safety requirements in the ACT’s construction industry. As the Assembly knows, this government is committed to ensuring the safety of all workers in the ACT. This report sets out the challenges that we all face. The report paints a disturbing picture of workplace safety on territory construction sites, with an injury rate that is 31 per cent higher than the national average. The industry’s long-term injury performance is 50 per cent worse than most other jurisdictions and it is double the national average. These figures are unacceptable.

The report also found little in the way of industry confidence that this situation can be improved, and this is also unacceptable. The government acknowledge that construction is a high-risk industry. What we do not accept is that there is no room for improvement in terms of safety. The government will not stand by and allow the continuation of a culture that is complacent about workplace injury.

Injury at work not only affects the person being injured. It affects their family, their friends, their workmates and the broader community. No-one enjoys going to funerals. No-one enjoys visiting a family member or a friend in hospital. No-one should fear that they, or a loved one, will be injured at work. The report highlights the need for a cultural shift in the construction industry, one that encourages everyone on a construction site to look after their colleagues, themselves and their mates, and to ensure that everyone can go home safely.

Madam Speaker, I hope that those opposite will support the government in this important area. We must do better and we must strive to have the best safety record possible. In tabling the response, the government has indicated that it agrees with all of the 28 recommendations in the report. As I have indicated when I have spoken previously on the report, the government will take the lead on matters it is responsible for.

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