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The Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program was established last week and its terms of reference released.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin the commission is one of the Coalition Government’s election promises.

The terms of reference include how the Australian Labor Government made decisions about identifying, assessing and managing work health and safety (WHS) risks and whether the Government had sufficient regard for such risks.

Also included are whether the deaths of the four men, Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson, could have been avoided if the Labor Government had taken a different approach to identifying, assessing or managing WHS risks, the program’s effects on the victims’ families and the program’s effects on pre-existing home insulation businesses.

Ian Hanger AM QC has been appointed as the Royal Commissioner; he is a dispute resolution practitioner and an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland.

Hanger will report the commission’s findings and recommendations on or before 30 June 2014.

For more details, visit the Royal Commission and the full terms of reference.

Published on 19 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Federal Government has announced it will establish a Royal Commission into the former government’s Home Insulation Scheme.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, the commission is one of the Coalition Government’s election promises.

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson died while installing home insulation.

The terms of reference are yet to be released. However, the government says the commission will assess the former government’s handling of the scheme’s risk management and its responses to advice and warnings; and determine if the current government should change laws, practices, processes, procedures and systems in response to the commission’s findings.

The commission would also take into account the findings of coronial inquests and other inquiries into scheme.

The government said it had consulted the families of the deceased workers in developing the proposed terms of reference.

In late October, Greens Leader Christine Milne told the ABC’s Insiders program that the commission was purely political and if the Coalition was serious about fixing the safety issues it would have already taken up the recommendations of the coronial inquests.

Milne said the Greens would look at the commission’s terms of reference when they are available and consider the points of view of the deceased workers’ families.

The Royal Commission is due to report on or before 30 June 2014.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has introduced the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABC Commissioner).

The former government abolished the ABC Commission and replaced it with the Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate will continue under the new name of the ABC Commission.

The CFMEU rejects the need to reinstate the ABC Commission and says more must be done to improve workers safety.

“[Workers] need the government to care and act on safety which is a constant concern. People are often working on jobs where safety laws are not observed,” CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said.

The government must also address sham contracting, tax evasion and lost wages and entitlements, he added.

The Bill and the accompanying Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013 have been referred to a Senate Committee hearing, which is due to report by 2 December 2013.

For more details, visit the Attorney General, building legislation and CFMEU.

Published on 21 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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