The Labor Government has caved into pressure from the Opposition and industry groups, shelving its controversial industrial safety legislation which former Minister Bernard Finnigan had been trying to rush through parliament.
Labor’s sole remaining Minister in the Legislative Council, Gail Gago, today took the unprecedented action of discharging and withdrawing the Bill.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said it was a humiliating back down and showed just how out of touch Mr Finnigan and the Labor Government were on this issue.
“Former Minister Finnigan argued the Work Health and Safety Bill had to be passed as soon as possible, as it was part of a national agreement to be introduced into all Australian Parliaments, including the Federal Parliament.
“Mr Finnigan was determined for South Australia to move first, despite the West Australian, Victorian and Tasmanian governments seeking major amendments, and there being no final approved form of almost 600 pages of regulations.”
Mr Lucas said the Bill was a “full frontal assault” on the sub-contracting sector in SA, and would have severely impacted on housing affordability:
• The Housing Industry Assocation (HIA) estimated the impact of the Bill and associated regulations would lead to a $15,000 increase in the cost of a single story trussed roof dwelling and $22,000 for a two story dwelling
• The proposed regulations required all building sites to be fenced, greater use of scaffolding and giving five days prior notice to SafeWork SA before digging a trench deeper than 1.5m. One building company advised they would need to fence more than 500 separate building sites.
• Increased red tape for builders as well as increased power for unions
“Numerous industry groups including the HIA, Business SA, the Master Builders’ Association, and the Motor Trade Association put their objections to the Labor Government very strongly, and I am pleased that common sense has prevailed at this stage,” Mr Lucas said.