Bill reported, with amendments, and, by leave, the report adopted.

As to Third Reading — Standing Orders Suspension — Motion

HON ALANNAH MacTIERNAN (North Metropolitan — Minister for Regional Development) [5.27 pm] — without notice: I move —

That so much of standing orders be suspended so as to enable the bill to be read a third time forthwith.

Comments and speeches by various members

The ACTING PRESIDENT: Members, having counted the house, I confirm that an absolute majority is present. If there is no dissenting voice, I will declare that the motion is carried.

Question put and passed with an absolute majority.

Third Reading

HON ALANNAH MacTIERNAN (North Metropolitan — Minister for Regional Development) [5.30 pm]: I move —

That the bill be now read a third time.

Comments and speeches by various members

HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [6.01 pm]: I want to say only a few words on the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019. I am one of the members in this place who has been calling for reform in this space for a long, long time, even before my first term in Parliament when I worked in the union movement. I am very glad that we are finally seeing this long overdue and desperately needed reform. I note that too many families have suffered injustice because of the penalties that have been meted out when wrongdoing by employers has been found out. I am sad that we cannot, of course, change history in that regard, but I hope that we will be able to see better outcomes for people in the future, noting that the purpose of this type of legislation is to save people from being injured and killed in the first place by creating a disincentive for employers to provide unsafe workplaces.

I say from the outset that I am pleased to see industrial manslaughter come through as an offence, but I note that we still have in front of us in this bill penalties for industrial manslaughter that do not mirror the manslaughter provisions that exist in the Criminal Code. We still have a two-tiered manslaughter regime, which recognises that manslaughter that occurs under the Criminal Code attracts higher penalties than manslaughter that occurs on worksites, and I am disappointed about that. I hope that at some point we will have manslaughter provisions that are consistent across the board.

I particularly pay tribute to those families, many of whom I have been in contact with for a very long time and some of whom I have known in more recent years, for what they have brought to this debate. They have been able to rise above their pain, distress and loss to ensure that these necessary changes occurred. I want to pay tribute in particular to Regan Ballantine. Nothing can bring Wes back, but, hopefully, this at least brings some degree of comfort.

I also want to note my disappointment that it took so long for this bill to finally come to this place and be debated. I have noticed that over the course of the last week in particular there has been some pretty unseemly behaviour in relation to allegations being made about the progress of this bill, including, unbelievably, against the Greens, which have been straight-out lies, particularly considering the Greens have been at the forefront of pushing for improved and increased penalties around this area for a very long time—certainly when the Labor Party in opposition stood in the way of any sort of reform around this. It has been very disappointing to see that sort of poor behaviour, but I am glad that we are here now and that this bill has finally been addressed. As I said in the second reading debate, it is one of the two reforms that I critically wanted to see happen during my term in Parliament. I hope that this will be successfully passed in the other place and that we can move on to having that long overdue, improved regime for worker safety in this state.

Question put and passed.
Bill read a third time and returned to the Assembly with amendments.


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