The Liberal Party will move to defeat the Weatherill Government’s controversial work safety laws when debate resumes in the Legislative Council.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said the Liberal Party was particularly concerned about the bill’s impact on small business and housing affordability.
“The Liberal Party has been raising significant concerns about this bill since April last year,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has estimated that the bill and regulations will increase the cost of a single story dwelling by $20,690 and a double story dwelling by $29,335. Consultants Rider Levett Bucknall, employed by the HIA, confirmed the estimate with their own estimate of an increased cost of $20,088 for a single story dwelling and $28,450 for a double story dwelling.
“There is no doubt this bill is a full frontal assault on the subcontracting and small business sectors in South Australia. There is now almost united opposition to the bill from business groups.
“The Housing Industry Association, the Master Builders’ Association, Independent Contractors Australia, the South Australia Farmers’ Federation and the Urban Development Institute of Australia are all now calling for the bill to be defeated.
“In addition, other groups including Business SA, Self Insurers of SA, the Australian Hotels’ Association, the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia, the Motor Trade Association, the Wine Industry Association and the National Electrical and Communications Association are strongly opposed to the current bill and are supporting significant amendments to the bill.
“Claims by the Weatherill Government that the bill should be supported as part of a ‘harmonised’ package of laws are now clearly unsustainable. The bill in New South Wales has already been amended and both the Western Australian and Victorian governments have indicated they don’t support the current bill and at the very least will amend the bill.
“There is now also widespread concern about the impact of the bill on volunteers and the President of the Law Society in South Australia, Ralph Bonig, has helped lead the debate on this issue.
“Claims by Minister Wortley that volunteers could only be prosecuted if they cause injury or death through reckless or negligent behaviour are clearly wrong. It is increasingly obvious that the Minister does not even understand his own bill.
“If the bill is not defeated at the second reading stage, the Liberal Party will be moving significant amendments in an attempt to remove some of the most objectionable aspects of the bill. These amendments will cover:
• The ‘control test’
• Right to remain silent
• Union right of entry
• Volunteer associations
• Health and safety representatives’ power to appoint
• Codes of practice (i) power of Parliament to disallow
(ii) must be approved by Advisory Council
• Reduction of penalties
• Redefinition of ‘workplace’
• Delegation power clarified
• Delayed commencement date
• Power to seize workplace
“It is disappointing that the Weatherill Government in South Australia has not been prepared to conduct a Regulatory Impact Statement along the lines of those now being conducted by the Victorian and Western Australian Governments.
“After ten years of Labor waste, struggling South Australian small businesses and subcontractors cannot afford to see this bill implemented. Struggling South Australian families also cannot afford the massive increase in housing costs if this bill is implemented.”