6 July, 2012
Christchurch to host trans-Tasman ministerial health and safety forum
A trans-Tasman ministerial meeting focused on workplace health and safety will be hosted in Christchurch later this year, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has announced.
Thenew Select Council on Workplace Relations, which brings together Australian and New Zealand ministers involved in workplace relations and health and safety, met for the first time in Melbourne today.
Minister Wilkinson has invited the Select Council to Christchurch for their next meeting in November.
“It’s quite an achievement getting a group of this calibre to come to New Zealand. Our next meeting will be focussed on health and safety in the workplace, and given the importance of making sure the Canterbury rebuild is done safely, it’s ideal that it should be in Christchurch,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“Our workplace health and safety record in New Zealand is unacceptable. For example, we have double the rate of workplace deaths in Australia and the United Kingdom. That has to change.
“At a time when we are reviewing and strengthening our health and safety system, the Select Council is an excellent forum to share ideas and discover new approaches to reducing workplace harm.
“In particular, Australia has a wealth of experience in mining health and safety practice and natural disaster management. In the wake of the Pike River tragedy, I’m sure there is much we can learn.”
The Select Council on Workplace Relations is chaired by Australian Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Hon Bill Shorten. It comprises New Zealand’s Minister of Labour plus the ministers from the eight Australian states and territories.