The ACT Government has accepted all of the 28 recommendations of the Getting Home Safely report into the ACT's construction industry, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Simon Corbell announced today.
"The Government is committed to improving safety on construction sites in the ACT," he said.
"It is no longer acceptable for people in the construction industry to say there are safety issues in construction sites and then do nothing about them. This report compels unions, employers and government to stand up and actively promote a culture where everyone looks out for their mates, and everyone can go home safely every day."
Mr Corbell said that the Government acknowledged the findings of the report and accepted responsibility to implement those recommendations where it had control of that implementation process.
"As the report highlights, this is not simply an issue for Government. Safety is an issue for every person on a construction site with principal contractors, sub-contractors, workers, unions and the Regulator all working together.
"The Government expects employers and unions to demonstrate leadership on this issue.
"I have been concerned by comments from some in the industry who have sought to downplay the extent and significance of the safety problems the sector faces. My message to them is clear, we cannot afford backsliding if we are going to make workplaces safer," he said.
Mr Corbell said that the Government would lead by example and called on industry and unions to follow suit.
"Work has already started within Government. We will introduce a package of measures to ensure the implementation of the recommendations and will ensure the improvements we make are sustainable."
Mr Corbell said it was anticipated that legislation to establish the Industrial Magistrate would be before the Legislative Assembly in June.
Consultation with stakeholders to introduce an active certification process for government contracts was also underway.
"The Government will also ensure that the additional staff employed by WorkSafe are utilised to assist industry and construction companies and workers to meet their safety obligations. This will be about being more visible, more ready to provide help and advice and not just about enforcement," he said.
Mr Corbell said the Government was also committed to ensuring its workers compensation and work health and safety schemes were sustainable in the long term.
"The Government has decided it will progressively transfer the cost of regulating the workers' compensation and WHS legislation to workers' compensation insurers and self-insurers by way of a levy. I anticipate introducing the enabling legislation to apportion WHS costs later this year," he said.
"For employers, this means workers' compensation policies that are renewed after 1 July 2013 are likely to be increased as a result of the levy. For an employer with an annual wages bill of $150,000, this will mean paying up to $22.50 extra for a workers' compensation insurance policy in 2013-14."
Ensuring that workers are appropriately covered by workers compensation arrangements is a key commitment of the government. New arrangements to place the enforcement and oversight of workers compensation schemes on a sustainable basis is one part of ensuring we develop a better safety culture in the construction sector.
- Statement ends -
Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases
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