Page 2047 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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including volunteers, such volunteers as those working for Greening Australia and our Landcare groups and also our community fire units can go about their work in the confidence that their work and their training are protected.

Protecting the health and safety of volunteers demonstrates to them that their commitment is valued, that we value them as workers. It recognises the vital role they play in the community and how much poorer we would be without them. It is the right thing to do, and I am proud to be part of this ACT government which takes workplace health and safety seriously.

MS BURCH (Brindabella‚ÄĒMinister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (3.51): I would like to begin by thanking Mr Gentleman for bringing this motion forward for debate. It is an important motion. WorkSafe ACT does do important work. In the 21st century it is deeply concerning and deeply upsetting that so many people are being seriously injured at their workplace. It is even more concerning that too many people in this territory are not returning home from work at all.

I have a family. Indeed, I have sons that are in the engineering and construction sector. So I understand the apprehension that far too many of the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters in this town have about the safety of workplaces. It is simply not good enough that people have to worry whether or not they will be seriously injured or killed at their workplace. This is not acceptable. I do not know that it was ever acceptable at any point in our history but in the modern day it certainly is not. We must, as a government, as an Assembly and as a community, do all we can to make sure that every member of our society can go to work and be absolutely assured of their safety.

I am very pleased to be a member of a government that is committed to doing all that it can to ensure the safety of our citizens and that we have accepted all 28 recommendations of the Getting home safely report. As a minister in this government, I will be looking to my own portfolio to ensure that I and my officials support these recommendations and are mindful of how we can improve our own practices and offerings to ensure that safety is always at the forefront. I am mindful that the report made a number of recommendations about the need to support and examine the provision and quality of workforce training. Indeed, the report notes:

Quality training has an important contribution to make to work health and safety in this potentially dangerous and high risk industry.

I could not agree more with this statement and, indeed, education and training are crucial to ensuring that a culture of safety develops in any workplace, the construction industry included.

It is up to our training bodies to ensure that workplace safety is included as a core component of training and not simply as an add-on. As Minister for Education and Training, I look forward to working with industry and training providers to ensure we carry out the recommendations in this report and continue to work on the already extensive amount of training.

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