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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 5

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (1:07 PM) —The only information I have is what I provided to you originally, which outlined that, as I understand it, the Deputy Prime Minister consulted with the various states and territories on the Senate amendments on 20 October. The issue then went to the need to maintain the IGA, and they were concerned about the Senate amendments. I do not have any greater specificity on that answer than what I have provided. I think it provides an answer on the consultative process that was undertaken. With all due respect, the opposition should have a look at the communique. They would then see that the states and territories have entered into the IGA, they have looked at the Senate amendments post the Senate process, they have considered the position and continued with a desire to ensure that we have a harmonised outcome—that is, OHS legislation through Safe Work Australia. These amendments have been looked at by all states and territories—you even drew me to the communique, which indicated WA’s position. In their own words:

… the WA Government supports a number of the amendments passed by the Senate.

However, Ministers noted with much concern that the amendments threatened the harmonisation of national OHS legislation …

Ultimately, we have got to a position where we do want the intergovernmental agreement reflected in the legislation. The government does want OHS legislation through Safe Work to be established and we want it in the form that we have put forward. We ask the chamber to consider that position and provide a positive outcome.

Senator Abetz —How long was this matter under consideration at the ministerial council meeting on 5 November?

Senator LUDWIG —Unfortunately, they do not invite me there. I will see whether I can provide any additional information from the advisers which might assist.