Senate debates

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Occupational Health and Safety

4:07 pm

Photo of Jacinta CollinsJacinta Collins (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) Share this | Hansard source

This motion seeks to perpetuate the Liberal myth that the government is somehow liable for the incidents arising from Telstra's work on their telecommunications pits. Telstra CEO David Thodey has made it clear. He said: 'We own the infrastructure; it is our responsibility.' When Malcolm Turnbull was asked on Sky News to justify the assertion of government liability for work done by Telstra, he would not back it up. NBN Co. will, of course, have a responsibility for the safety of work that it has commissioned through contractors, but Telstra is not a contractor when it comes to the pits; it is the landlord.

Asbestos is a serious issue and it deserves a serious approach, not political game-playing. Instead of trying to politicise this issue, the coalition should work with government to ensure asbestos is always handled and disposed of safely wherever it is found. There has been no hand-washing here.


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