Page 3008 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015
There has been a portable long service leave scheme in existence in the ACT since 1981. It commenced with the building and construction industry. In 2000 the contract cleaning industry was added, followed by the community sector industry in 2010 and, most recently, the contract security industry in 2013. Presently there are 2,033 employers and 26,400 workers registered. The government is working closely with unions, employers, community groups and industry associations to design the extension of the existing scheme to the aged care and waste removal sectors.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Minister, how is the ACT government working with employee groups to improve outcomes for workers in the ACT?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in workers across the territory. Stable and high performing industrial relations frameworks are characterised by meaningful consultation and engagement between government, employers, workers and unions. Officials in my department are working closely with unions on a range of initiatives designed to assist workers. For example, the government is a signatory to the Australian fair work health and safety strategy, which promotes a collaborative tripartite approach to achieving reductions in workplace injury and fatality. These principles underpin how we have gone about implementing the recommendations the getting home safely inquiry into construction industry safety. In particular, unions have worked closely with WorkSafe ACT to design and deliver a range of training, education and awareness-raising services to industry.
I am pleased to say that this work is paying dividends. An actuarial review commissioned by the government has shown that lost time injuries in the ACT construction industry reduced by about one-third in the first year after our acceptance of the getting home safely recommendations. Significantly, this was off the back of several years of deteriorating safety performance.
In the field of injury management, we are working closely with unions on designing a new workers compensation scheme to meet the needs of the ACT public sector workforce. The negotiations have been extremely constructive and will help to produce a scheme that drives improved injury prevention and earlier safe return to productive employment for our workers.
Unions are also strongly represented on the ACT Work Safety Council. The council is a ministerial advisory council that specialises in work safety and workers compensation. The council is currently considering a range of important worker protection initiatives, including the design of a national injury insurance scheme, to provide lifetime care and support for catastrophically injured workers and also improvements to their benefits. (Time expired.)
Mr Barr: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
Madam Speaker presented the following papers: