Page 2684 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013
The criminal jurisdiction of the new court will include any industrial or work safety offence against a person in relation to a summary or indictable offence if the person was an adult at the time of the alleged offence. Serious criminal matters, such as industrial murder or manslaughter, will remain in the Supreme Court as it has sole jurisdiction to hear criminal matters involving harm to a person where the maximum penalty is greater than 10 years’ imprisonment.
The industrial court will also have jurisdiction to hear and decide a proceeding in relation to bail for an adult charged with an industrial or work safety offence and a proceeding in relation to a breach of a sentence imposed by the Magistrates Court for an industrial or work safety offence.
Flexibility has also been built into the proposed legislation to expand the jurisdiction and allow for the court’s jurisdiction to be expressly conferred on the industrial court by any other act.
The extended public consultation period for the exposure draft bill ended on 14 June this year. The government received three submissions on the proposal: one from the Chief Magistrate, a joint submission from the ACT Law Society and the Bar Association and a submission from Unions ACT. I take this opportunity to thank these key stakeholders for the support they have given for the establishment of the new court and for their valuable comments and suggestions.
The government has listened to these views and has made some changes to the original proposal in the exposure draft bill. The government has listened to the concerns expressed around the ability of the Magistrates Court to absorb the additional high value common law claims above $250,000 coming down from the Supreme Court and has decided not to proceed with this reform at this time. As a result, the industrial court will hear and decide only those civil common law workers compensation claims up to a value of $250,000. Claims above this value will remain in the Magistrates Court.
Over time, the new industrial court will become a specialist court, building up its own industrial case law and procedures around industrial civil claims and criminal matters. The court will be able to draw on its specialisation and promote greater consistency in decision making and the application of appropriate penalties by the court, delivering certainty and fairness for all litigants.
The government is committed to working with industry, employers, and employees to do everything possible to ensure every worker returns home safely at the end of their working day. This bill is another step in achieving that aim. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.28): I move: