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Thursday, 5 April 1984
Page: 1302


Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry and Commerce) —During Question Time yesterday Senator McIntosh asked me a question about the compilation on a national basis of statistics on industrial accidents. I am now in a position to provide the following further information to the honourable senator. The Australian Bureau of Statistics collects occupational health and safety data through State offices. However, this data is generated from information provided under workers compensation legislation in each State. Because of differences in the legislation, coverage and classification of workers and methods of presentation, there is great difficulty in using this data to paint a national picture. Also, the statistics collected relate only to people covered by the State workers compensation legislation and do not cover large numbers of employees, such as most self-employed persons, Commonwealth Government employees or employees covered under separate legislation. The standardisation program initiated by the ABS has resulted in some upgrading of the available information . Despite these initiatives, while it must rely on existing administrative systems, it will not be able to produce the type of data sought by the many users in the field. The Government has established an Interim National Occupational Health and Safety Commission which is investigating these dificiencies amongst other issues in this area.