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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   ls it a fact that many hundreds of thousands of man-hours are lost each year through indus trial acidents and occupational diseases and that, in addition to lost production, more than $100m is now paid out in worker's compensation each year.

(2)   Has his Department ever sought to obtain agreement with the respective States for (a) establishing mandatory occupational safety and health standards, (b) enforcement of such safety and health standards, (c) providing for research into occupational safety and health, (d) training programmes for personnel engaged in the field of occupational safety and health and (e) clearly delineating the responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the respective State governments in relation to occupational safely and health.

Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   According to recent estimates, approximately 700,000 man-weeks are lost each year through occupational injuries incurred in the course of employment, exclusive of diseases and accidents on the way to and from work.

In 1967-68 over 5100m was paid against compensation claims and in respect of civil actions under employers' liabilities.

(2)   (a), (b) and (c) There is effective liaison between the State and Commonwealth Departments through the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee and through the Occupational Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

(d)   Courses and training programmes in various aspects of occupational safety in various aspects of occupational safety and health are conducted by the Commonwealth and by the State Departments concerned.

(e)   The responsibilities of the States in regard to occupational safety and health are defined in the legislation of each State. In the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the relevant ordinances define the responsibilities of the Commonwealth.

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