Page 705 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013
reassurances from the MBA on ABC radio this morning. It has indicated its intention to cooperate and to work towards improving work health safety in the territory.
The facts are, though, that more needs to be done. It is essential that everyone involved in the construction industry commits to improving safety, to making a real safety culture a reality, and to ensuring that every worker can come home safely at the end of the day. Many businesses who accept safety as part of their core business, rather than consider it a burden, I am confident will welcome this report and the government response. I hope that it was seen as a vindication for the safety culture that they have developed in their own businesses.
Those companies that are not willing to embrace change will soon learn that their business opportunities in the territory are limited, particularly when it comes to government contracts. The Canberra community is entitled to nothing less than the highest standard of workplace safety. The implementation of these recommendations, as set out in this report and in this government response, will help to set the construction industry on the road to achieving a better safety culture.
Construction workers and their families and friends need to feel more secure in knowing that the government, industry and unions are doing all they can to ensure that workers get home safely. The government are committed to this task, and we look forward to working with unions and employers to achieve it.
In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I have outlined in the government’s response its commitment to providing the Assembly with six-monthly updates on the implementation of recommendations. This, I think, will provide a high level of visibility to the government’s work and commitment to realising these recommendations. I commend the government response to the Assembly.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo), by leave: Madam Speaker, I would like to put on record the ACT Greens’ strong support for reforms to safety in the ACT’s construction industry. I think that the title of the inquiry “Getting home safely” sums it up perfectly. Everyone should have the right to go to work and to come home safely again. For ACT construction workers, that right has been at risk.
On average, every day a construction worker will sustain an injury in the ACT. Our serious injury rate is almost a third higher than the national average. The ACT construction sector’s fatality rate was almost three times the rate of fatalities of all other industries. We are all aware of the tragic deaths that have occurred on ACT worksites over the last 18 months.
The Greens have actively pursued reform in work safety. Our recent election commitments focused on construction safety and reform of the construction industry. I am very pleased to see that some of the report’s recommendations cover the same policy areas, such as an increase in the number of WorkSafe inspectors, a new focus on proactive inspections, and reform of the ACT’s procurement system. In the coming months we will see the ACT move to a new system called “active certification”.
The government has accepted all of the recommendations in the inquiry report, and I was very pleased to see that that was the case when Minister Corbell brought forward