WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY BILL 2011
Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Madam President, I will not go on overly either. A lot of it has already been said. But I do thank those people for the informative briefings that we have had. It was really good and it certainly helped me a great deal.
I support the principle of the bill. Obviously it is important to reduce the risk of injury and I note that a lot of changes are clarifications more than actual changes. Regarding the timing and need to defer, we have always been told that people hold off till the last minute, and perhaps they do, but I still believe there must be an opportunity for employers and employees to know more fully about the bill.
It was interesting listening to the honourable member for Windermere regarding his sons and others to do with their businesses. I, too, spoke to my partner about his obligations and said, 'What would you do if you had a subcontractor working downstairs in your hotel, putting up lights, would you go down and ask him is his ladder safe and all these other things?' He said, 'Why would I? I have employed a subcontractor.' Obviously the obligation is there when they are coming onto your premises and you have to know about this. I think that is something that is really important. It is not really just about letting people know about this bill and the changes we have, it is probably about educating them about what is there already because I think a lot of people, both employers and employees, need to be aware of what the risks are and what the requirements are.
We are told it is a new duty - consult, cooperate and coordinate, and I think that is wonderful. Anything that we can do to make it safer for employees and for workers, I am all for. I have three sons who work underground in mines, so whatever we can do is extremely important and I would not like to see anything held up any longer than it needs to be.
So I will certainly be listening when we get into Committee. At the moment I am feeling that we need to put the date back, as per the amendment by the honourable member for Huon and make it educational, so that people - I do not understand what the act is now and what the changes are going to be - are all aware of what responsibility they have as employees, and that employees know what responsibilities lie on their employers as well as subcontractors. But I do support the bill.