Page 1314 - Week 05 - Thursday, 18 June 2020

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Employment and Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

Ms Orr, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS ORR (Yerrabi—Minister for Community Services and Facilities, Minister for Disability, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety and Minister for Government Services and Procurement) (11.23): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I am pleased to present the Employment and Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2020. This bill makes a number of amendments to legislation within my portfolio. It will make amendments to the Workers Compensation Act 1951 to modernise provisions in the act that deal with insurer and self-insurer approvals. The bill will make structural and technical amendments to the Dangerous Goods (Road Transport) Act 2009 in order to better align the territory’s legislation with nationally agreed model legislation applying to the transport of dangerous goods.

The bill will also amend the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to deliver better health and safety outcomes for workers in the territory. The lives of working people depend on the continual improvement and strengthening of work health and safety legislation. I am confident that the amendments introduced today will ensure that our safety and regulatory frameworks continue to be responsive and effective.

The proposed amendments to the Workers Compensation Act 1951 will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the workers compensation scheme insurer and self-insurer regulatory framework. The Workers Compensation Act 1951 provides that all employers in the ACT must have a compulsory workers compensation insurance policy with an approved insurer unless they are granted an exemption by the minister. Employers who are granted an exemption are subsequently approved to operate as a self-insurer.

This approach is now out of date. It is time to move to a modern licensing framework for both insurers and self-insurers. It is critical that injured workers in the ACT should be able to expect a consistent standard of service regardless of whether their employer has an insurance policy or is self-insured.

Protecting working people is, and always will be, a priority for this government. If a worker is injured or suffers a disease as a result of their employment, the workers compensation scheme provides them with the coverage they need to get back on their feet and return to work or to support them if that is not possible.

There are several key amendments to the Workers Compensation Act being introduced in the bill. We are updating the general approval provisions to incorporate modern licensing drafting practices, including requirements to apply for a licence and

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