Libs to oppose Labor WHS bill unless significantly amended
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
The Liberal Opposition will vote against the Labor Government’s Work, Health and Safety Bill unless significant amendments are made to the legislation.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said the Liberals are particularly concerned about a massive increase in union powers and how the bill would impact on the already struggling housing sector.
“The Housing Industry Association has released new estimates that housing costs will rise by $20,000 for single story and $28,000 for double story dwellings.
“The Labor Government has not adequately addressed these concerns, nor has it provided any evidence that increasing union power will improve worker safety in South Australia.”
Mr Lucas said the Liberal Party will move amendments in a number of significant areas, generally seeking to return to the existing legal situation in South Australia:
• ensure businesses are held accountable for matters ‘within their control’, as occurs under existing SA law
• stop massive increase in union power to enter work sites even if the union has no members on the site
• retain the right to silence provisions of existing legislation
• provide power for SA Parliament to disallow new Codes of Practice
• ensure health and safety representatives can only appoint appropriately trained advisers to assist them in resolving disputes
• clarify application of new laws to volunteers
“The Liberal Party will also consult further with stakeholders and then consider the option of moving to disallow the 600 pages of regulations being implemented as part of the new package,” Mr Lucas said.
“There is almost unanimous opposition to Labor’s new bill from employer organisations in South Australia as they all recognise the damage it will do to SA’s competitiveness.
“Whilst Labor claims this is an agreed or ‘harmonised’ national bill, the reality is the New South Wales Parliament has already amended the bill, the West Australian Government has indicated they will amend the bill and it is increasingly likely the Victorian Government will also amend the bill.
“The SA Liberal Party will also consider the possibility of forcing a delay in the introduction of any new Act by six or twelve months.
“This bill will be an important test for Premier-in-waiting Jay Weatherill to see whether he is prepared to stand up to the unions that control the Labor Party.”