Page 1137 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 6 April 2016

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This report made a series of recommendations. It said that the direction proposed:

… should be reinforced by a new approach to purchasing and regulation within the Government to give stronger emphasis on work health and safety. This won’t involve more regulation because the Inquiry Panel considers that the current laws and regulatory framework are sufficiently strong and comprehensive for the task.

The inquiry panel went on to say

… the ACT Government should use its strength as a purchaser of construction services to bring the industry along. The Government should in future require a high standard of work health and safety on its sites and ensure that such high standards are in place and maintained. Government sites should be a leader, setting the standard for others to match or aspire to. The ACT Government should use its purchasing power to ensure through its tendering process that only contractors with good health and safety records and the capacity to complete a project as safety as possible are allocated government work. It should ensure that contractors working on its projects are fulfilling their health and safety responsibilities to the best of their ability throughout the project. It might also consider withholding a portion of final payment, pending health and safety outcomes on a site.

It also stated:

The Panel has also identified increased scope for more co-operation between government agencies to weed out the cowboys from the industry … The Inquiry Panel would be particularly happy to see the ACT community, alongside the unions, reporting more to Government about bad health and safety practice in the industry. It is only with a concerted effort on all fronts that the climate will be sufficiently robust to weed out bad companies and individuals that should not be operating in it.

Madam Speaker, the ACT government demonstrates its commitment to work health and safety by proactively changing its purchasing arrangements; providing a credible regulatory framework that facilitates industry initiatives and penalises poor performance effectively; and initiating a strategic framework for work health and safety training with clear priorities and evaluations.

The series of recommendations contained in this report were agreed by the government but I would like to highlight three. Recommendation 25 states:

The ACT Government should proceed with development and implementation of Shared Services Procurements’ proposed ‘active certification’ approach following consultation with stakeholders.

We have done that. That is in place. Recommendation 26:

The ACT Government should encourage excellence in health and safety performance by introducing comparative assessment of contractors’ safety record and capacity as part of the tender selection process for Government construction projects.

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