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An extract from my May Day Toast speech

May 01, 2019

In the last year, the ACT Government has been working hard to ensure that Canberra’s workers remain safe and have the best working conditions in Australia.

We know that when workers, their unions and elected parliamentary representatives work together we can achieve great things as a labour movement.

Something the movement in the ACT can be very proud of is the work we did together to develop and implement the Secure Local Jobs Package.

The Secure Local Jobs Code commenced in January this year, ensuring that businesses tendering for government projects meet the highest ethical and labour standards in cleaning, security, construction and traffic management. 

By leveraging the government’s purchasing power, we are encouraging a positive behavioural shift across beyond just ACT Government work.

As an example, one business that has signed up to the Secure Local Jobs Code covers 11,000 workers across the country. That is 11,000 workers whose employer has signed up to commit to provide them with the highest ethical and labour standards because of us.

The Registrar has also been contacted by one NGO already, saying they will be requiring their building contractor to hold a Secure Local Jobs Certificate.

The Government is committed to continual improvement to ensure the highest standards for workers, and we will be expanding the scope of the Secure Local Jobs Code in due course to all sectors.

We have also taken steps to ensure that workers remain safe, introducing new laws that target major construction projects. These changes enhance collaboration on our construction sites to improve the safety culture, leading to better health and safety outcomes.

The changes also ensure that health and safety representatives and health and safety committees on major construction projects are adequately trained. This will better equip them to perform their role in helping to keep our construction sites safe.

We will continue to progress a positive agenda for safer, fairer workplaces in the ACT Government and across the ACT Community.

But, unfortunately, for each step forward we take as a progressive ACT Labor Government, this Federal Coalition Government has been on a crusade to send us back to the dark ages.

As a community, we have seen a sustained attack on everything that those in the labour movement have worked tirelessly to achieve.

Last year I spoke at the May Day dinner of the fact that Prime Minister Turnbull had gone down the same muddy path as Abbott. Now, 12 months later, Scomo has taken the baton thanks to Peter Dutton.

Morrison has continued down the well-trodden conservative path of tax cuts for big business, cuts to penalty rates and progressing their anti-union, anti-worker agenda.

But I’m glad to say for Abbott, Morrison, Dutton and his friends. Winter is coming.

And that’s in no small part thanks to unions across Australia who’ve come together to say it’s time to change the rules and change the government. Thank you for taking up the fight and I look forward to a better future and a fairer Australia under a Shorten Labor Government.