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ACT in need of urgent briefing

ACT in need of urgent briefing

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said she would be offering the ACT Party an urgent briefing on the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill because they clearly did not understand it.

Claims by ACT Justice spokesperson Stephen Franks that parents who volunteer to supervise swimmers at a school picnic or drive children to school sports would be liable for prosecution under the amendments were ludicrous, she said.

“For volunteers to be covered there must be two factors involved. One is they must be engaged in a work activity for an employer or self-employed person and secondly that employer or self-employed person must gain financially from the volunteers’ work.

“There is no intent to cover school events that are recreational activities where the only gain is fun and goodwill.”

Margaret Wilson said ACT needed to understand Select Committee recommendations on the coverage of volunteers under the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill were intended to protect people not penalise community organisations.

“The committee was trying to achieve a balance between situations where people are put at serious risk of injury while engaged in voluntary work and situations where it is demonstrably clear there is no risk.”

Margaret Wilson said she was happy to look again at the legislation to make sure the intention with regard to volunteers was clear.

“We must make sure the rights of all people are protected.”

Margaret Wilson said she wondered why ACT and National were not concerned about the continuing appalling record we have in workplace safety in this country.

“I’m deeply concerned about the fact that we had yet another serious accident on a building site just yesterday.”

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