Inquiry into Serious Injuries & Deaths in the Workplace

Echo 8 January 2004

Welcome to 2004. I trust everyone had an enjoyable, safe and relaxing Christmas and New Year season.

Inquiry into Serious Injuries & Deaths in the Workplace

The Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1 is holding an Inquiry into Serious Injuries & Deaths in the Workplace. The terms of reference are as follows -
That General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1 inquire into and report on serious injury and death in the workplace, and in particular:

the operation of WorkCover's prosecution branch including the cases of:

Anthony Hampson-Gosford High School, June 2001 Dean McGoldrick-death while working for Advance Roofing, February 2000

the role and performance of WorkCover in liaising with victims and families

the method and monitoring of payment of penalties where an employer has been convicted of an offence relating to a serious accident or death

compliance by WorkCover with its statutory requirements relating to serious injury and death in the workplace

comparison of the operation of WorkCover in relation to the management of serious injury and death in the workplace in other jurisdictions in Australia


That the Committee report by 6 May 2004.

Public participation in the inquiry process is encouraged and written submissions are to be sent to the Director, General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1, Legislative Council, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney by 4 February 2004. Further information can be obtained from my office or by contacting the Committee Secretariat on 9230 3544 or gpscno1@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Building Consultancy Licences

Commencing January 1 2004 any person who is retained by a consumer to carry out a pre-purchase inspection of a residential building will be required to hold a licence. This is a requirement under the Home Building Amendment (Building Consultancy Work) Regulation 2003. Consumers will be able to check the licence details of building consultants on the public register maintained on the Office of Fair Trading website. Information and licence application forms are available on the website (www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au) or by calling the Home Building Service on 1800 678588.

Building Active Communities Funding

This Department of Sport & Recreation assistance will fund projects which increase sport, recreation and physical activity for identified groups from under-represented and disadvantaged people within the community, and/or address health and social issues. There are small (up to $2,000) and large ($10,000-$25,000) grants available. The closing date for small grants is 30 January and for large 12 March. Application forms can be obtained from my office or the Department's website www.dsr.nsw.gov.au.

Review of the NSW Building & Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999

The aim of the review is to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act (as amended by the NSW Building & Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002) remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives, including the timeframes and the scope of the Act in respect to coverage and exemptions. Copies of the Act can be accessed through my office or at www.construction.nsw.gov.au/sop. The closing date for submissions is 2 March and can be either emailed to sop-review@construction.nsw.gov.au or sent to the NSW Building & Construction Industry Security of Payment Act, Department of Commerce, Level 23 McKell Building, 2-24 Rawson Place, Sydney 2000.

Casino Community Benefit Fund

In 1995 the Casino Community Benefit Fund was established to provide financial assistance to organisations offering treatment services (counselling, rehabilitation etc), education and awareness raising for problem gamblers and their families, and activities addressing the flow-on effects of problem gambling. The program provides the opportunity for "not for profit" community based organisations to apply for financial assistance. Applications forms are available from my office or can be downloaded from the Department of Gaming & Racing website at www.dgr.nsw.gov.au. The closing date is 13 February.

Draft Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Tenant Databases) Regulation 2004

Tenant databases are operated by private companies who collect information about tenants and make it available to real estate agents. Agents use this information to assess a person's rental history when considering an application to rent a property. The draft Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Tenant Databases) Regulation 2004 aims to protect tenants in New South Wales from unfair treatment in relation to the use of tenant databases. The regulation prescribes rules of conduct under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 regarding the use of tenant databases by New South Wales real estate agents.

These rules of conduct provide that: an agent must take steps to notify a tenant that the agent is going to list them on a database and provide the tenant with a reasonable opportunity to review and correct the information which will be listed;

a tenant can only be listed on a database for the following reasons - owing rental arrears which are more than the rental bond, failing to comply with a Tribunal order for the payment of money, or being subject to a Tribunal order terminating a tenancy for breach of a lease or causing serious damage or injury;

an agent must notify a database operator that a debt listed on a database has been paid within 7 days of becoming aware of the payment;

an agent can only use a tenant database if the database provides tenants with free access to information about the tenant, amends inaccurate, out of date or incomplete information without any charge to the tenant, and deletes listings within certain specified time periods.

The draft regulation does not directly regulate database operators but rather the agents who list tenants on databases. Comments on the draft regulation are invited by 9 February. Submissions should be sent to: The Project Manager, Tenant Databases Regulation, Policy Division, Office of Fair Trading, Level 20, 227 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000 or emailed to policy@oft.commerce.nsw.gov.au. Copies of the draft regulation can be obtained from my office or at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577