Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007
Parliamentary Record 12
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3835 Mr WOOD: That is right, but if I am having a debate, I need to know whether the Solicitor-General is correct. He might be correct. Mr Henderson: I tabled it. Mr WOOD: Okay, but to give us such short notice for such an important debate is unworthy of this House. The second issue is what I have always had concerns with about this legislation; that is, the unfairness of people who can be dismissed without any protection when fewer than 100 people are employed. I would like to know what the Labor Party thinks of the Deputy Opposition Leader, Julia Gillards comments. When it comes to giving those people protection, she is talking about waiving what was the Labor Partys original concept of giving people full protection. That is, where a business has fewer than 100 people, they were opposing the Howard governments stand that they should not get any protection at all. Now the Deputy Opposition Leader is starting to waiver on that. I am interested to know whether the people who work for a company that is employing fewer than 100 people are going to have protection as I thought the Labor Party was going to give them. Reports noted pursuant to standing orders. WORK HEALTH AMENDMENT BILL (Serial 85) Continued from 30 November 2006. Mrs MILLER (Katherine): Madam Speaker, the opposition supports the amendment to the Work Health Act, which will enable the Northern Territory to comply with nationally agreed workers compensation cross-border provisions. Similar legislation was passed in 1995 under the CLP but, at that time, there was no national agreement reached so the legislation lapsed. Thank goodness that is not the case today. This legislation will complement legislation being passed in other jurisdictions. I am sure most members of this Assembly know people who work across borders regularly: transport operators, tourism operators, and contract workers. I have a brother who works across borders for many weeks of the year in the oil and gas industry. These are a perfect example of the people who will be affected by cross-border legislation. This amendment bill ensures that mobile workers in all areas are adequately insured and, as I have said, the opposition supports this amendment. Mr HENDERSON (Employment, Education and Training): Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Katherine for the oppositions support of this bill. It really is another step in the evolution of laws across jurisdictions in a number of areas to provide consistency of regulation and legal obligations on employees and employers. This legislation will ensure that we are consistent with the other states in respect of workers compensation and identifying under which state a worker is to be compensated. The second reading went into a lot of detail about a series of tests that apply in regarding the state of connection of a worker. Although it was quite a lengthy second reading, the various limbs of the test are really commonsense. I am sure that this legislation is going to be welcomed by employees and employers alike because it will make the system that much easier on workers compensation where a worker is working across a number of jurisdictions and suffers an injury. I advise the House that, through the Officer of the Commissioner for Public Employment and NT WorkSafe, we will be distributing to major employer organisations and to unions a Guide to Cross-Border Workers Compensation Provisions. It is a very good document. I will table a copy for members. I urge members to have them in electorate offices. The guide is very plain and simple, and it is up on the Internet on the departments website. I commend the officers in the department who have done such a great job not only putting the legislation together, but also putting together the marketing material to get it out to employers and employees. With those comments, I thank officers of our department. It is just great to see in the Northern Territory, despite the lines across the table, when we move on from this place, we certainly will work together, so Sue, good to see you here in the House. Madam Speaker, I commend the bill to the House. Motion agreed to; bill read a second time. Mr HENDERSON (Employment, Education and Training)(by leave): Madam Speaker, I move that the bill be now read a third time. Motion agreed to; bill read a third time.