Statement on work safety breaches on light rail construction sites

More than $14,000 in fines issued by WorkSafe ACT in response to safety breaches on the light rail construction site is demonstrated evidence that the Work Safety Commissioner is doing an effective job.

Light rail construction is a major government project with significant union oversight guaranteed by the Government’s Memorandum of Understanding with UnionsACT.

It begs the question; why is the Government insistent on maintaining its MOU with UnionsACT when in the Government’s own words its primary purpose is to improve workplace safety in the construction sector.

This is proof that giving unions the power of veto on government procurement projects does not result in improved safety, but only results in ACT taxpayers paying over the odds on major government construction projects.

The majority of contractors involved on the light rail project are out of town operators who have entered into EBA’s with unions. It has been demonstrated through the Productivity Commission that union involvement in large government construction projects can result in taxpayers paying as much as 30 per cent more for projects.

These breaches are simply not acceptable when Canberrans are paying over the odds for the light rail project in the name of safety.

WorkSafe ACT has clearly demonstrated in this instance that the only authority on workplace safety should be the Commissioner and his office. I applaud them for doing their job effectively and diligently.