Unions Call for Independent Work Health Authority
“Unions call for independent Work Health Authority”
In light of today’s sacking of the Executive Director NT WorkSafe, Territory unions are calling for an independent NT WorkSafe as a statutory authority reporting directly to the Minister for Business.
The removal of the Executive Director of NT WorkSafe underlines the need for an independent Work Health Authority that reports only to the Minister and acts independently of other public sector agencies, said Alan Paton, Unions NT Secretary.
The interim arrangements for NT WorkSafe reward another CLP old boy ‘Doug Phillips’ and do not represent either sound or contemporary corporate governance by requiring NT WorkSafe: as a workplace health and safety and workers’ compensation regulator, to report through the Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of Business. (Doug Phillips)
Mr Paton stated that the arrangements present an unacceptable conflict of interest situation whereby the workplace safety regulator reports to a Department head that facilitates business growth and development.
More acceptable contemporary management arrangements should ensure that a regulatory authority is not diverted from important workplace health and safety and workers’ compensation related reform by the constraints of business development or industrial and economic growth activities in a self-regulatory environment.
There are a range of issues requiring improved attention by the safety regulator including more intensive training of its staff, better risk assessment and management practices for NT industry, closer attention to engagement of employers and workers in remote localities, improving electrical safety administration, better quality engagement with the resources sector and developing a more rigorous system of occupational licensing to ensure that workers can more easily transfer and have their work competencies recognised for projects throughout Australia.
Unions NT notes that under Ms Hull’s stewardship of NT WorkSafe
· important nationally consistent safety reform;
· historic new NT workers’ compensation regulation;
· the amalgamation of mine and electrical safety regulatory bodies
has also occurred. We wish Ms Hull well in her future endeavours, said Mr Paton.
Unions NT looks forward to conversations with government around what a revitalised
NT WorkSafe might look like and how the regulator can assist business to lift and improve its safety performance in a sustainable manner.
For further information contact Alan Paton at Unions NT on 89 410001 or 0427415713
Published: 12 Jul 2012
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