Australian Greens Senators' Dissenting Report

1.1        Seafaring and the maritime industry is a very hazardous industry. Workers in the industry have much greater fatality rates then workers in most other industries.

1.2        Therefore any reform to workplace health and safety and compensation arrangements in the industry must be conducted with great caution and with proper consultation.

1.3        The Australian Greens support the appropriate integration of the maritime industry into the broader workplace health and safety regime in consultation with industry.

1.4        However the Seafarers Safety and Compensation Bills package proposed by the government has not been developed with proper consultation with industry, in particular maritime unions, and will have significant detrimental consequences for workers in the maritime sector.

1.5        Evidence to the committee by the ACTU and the Maritime Union of Australia outlined many flaws and dangers in the bills and made detailed recommendations on how reform of the workplace health and safety regime in the maritime industry could be under taken.

1.6        The Maritime Union of Australia’s submission to the inquiry outlined their strong opposition to the bills in its current form. Their concerns included:

1.7        Other detrimental changes include an inferior consultation model for codes of practice; preventing health and safety representatives from giving directions in provisional improvements notices; and changes to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act that will have impacts beyond the maritime industry.

1.8        The ACTU stated in evidence to the inquiry:

The ACTU regrets the failure of the Australian Government to establish a tripartite process to develop the Bills similar to the process used to develop the model work health and safety laws and submits that the passage of the Bills be delayed until such time that this consultation process has occurred.[2]

Recommendation 1

1.9                  The Australian Greens recommend the bills not proceed and government engage in proper consultation with the industry on any future reform.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

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