Page 2018 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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safety. I am sure that he will continue to be diligent in this role. I thank him very much for bringing this motion to the Assembly today.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (12.21): Madam Speaker, workplace safety is everyone’s concern. Workers must be able to return to their loved ones at the end of the day uninjured. It is a major concern for government. Proper work health and safety policies to minimise risk and their enforcement are crucial. Another aspect is making sure workers have the appropriate training for the tasks they are required to perform.

Today I want to highlight just one aspect of the great contribution to work safety that this ACT Labor government is making in the construction industry. I will focus on the new purpose-built construction industry high-risk training facility at the Canberra Institute of Technology campus at Bruce in my electorate of Ginninderra. The construction industry high-risk training facility at Bruce opened late last year. CIT built it in anticipation of the new national licensing system for high-risk roles in the construction industry especially involving working at heights or with cranes. The national assessment instruments for high-risk licensing legislation took effect in the ACT on 1 October last year, three months before the other states.

With the new Bruce facility, CIT can offer courses for obtaining the latest high-risk licences covering work in dogging, hoist, rigging, scaffolding, slewing mobile cranes and boom-type elevating work platforms. Again, it illustrates the ACT government’s commitment to worker safety. Indeed, the ACT led the way in Australia in introducing the high-risk licensing and training facilities. The construction industry is clearly a more dangerous industry than most. That is why it is a hard-hat, fluoro-vest workplace, but it also means we have to work harder to ensure worker safety.

Last year I had the pleasure, under appropriate supervision, of driving the new KATO mobile slewing crane at the Bruce campus of CIT. The crane not only supports crane driver training but also elements of assessment for other areas such as scaffolding, dogging and rigging. The facility gives students hands-on, up-close and personal training in the situations they will encounter in the workplace.

CIT is leading the nation with the implementation of this new legislation. Many interstate RTOs have inspected the CIT’s facility as a model for themselves. CIT developed the specialist training facility at Bruce to be ready before the new high-risk work assessment rules came into effect and to be able to fulfil all the new training and testing required.

The wisdom of CIT’s forward planning has been confirmed. The high-risk licensing courses in Bruce are proving very popular with construction workers and tradies upgrading their qualifications. These new qualifications are all about being better qualified to work in these high-risk jobs, safer and smarter. No-one in the construction industry, or any other industry, wants to risk injury or do a job they are underqualified for. These new qualifications and assessments for high-risk jobs give workers the ability to work safer and smarter. Employers cannot send underqualified people to do these jobs. Unions working to protect the occupational health and safety of members have firmer grounds for saying what is the nationally mandated level of skills needed to work in these high-risk areas.

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