Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (18:23:10): My adjournment matter is for the Attorney-General and Minister for Workplace Safety, the Honourable Jill Hennessy.
This adjournment matter relates to her portfolio responsibilities of workplace safety. The action I seek from the minister is that she ensure that the people of Western Metropolitan Region are made aware of the Andrews Labor government’s dangerous goods awareness campaign to assist people understand the role they can play in protecting the community from the illegal stockpiling of dangerous goods.
Victorians are being asked to keep a lookout for dodgy operators storing or handling dangerous goods in a way that might put the community at risk. The Andrews Labor government has recently launched an awareness campaign urging members of the public to call WorkSafe Victoria if they suspect that dangerous goods, such as containers of flammable liquids, are being stored, handled or disposed of in a way which is unsafe. On 31 October the Dangerous Goods Amendment (Penalty Reform) Bill 2019 passed the Parliament. Stricter and tougher penalties will make sure that offenders are held responsible for their dangerous actions.
Anyone concerned about the storage and handling of dangerous goods can call WorkSafe’s advisory service on 1800 136 089. I commend the minister and the Andrews Labor government for making sure that our community is safe and that we remain tough on offenders who put Victorians at risk.
Ms HENNESSY (Altona—Attorney-General, Minister for Workplace Safety) (5 February 2020):
I would like to thank Member for the Western Metropolitan Region for her adjournment matter. The mishandling of dangerous goods is a significant public health risk and those who do so are breaking the law. Those who manufacture, store, transport, transfer, sell or use dangerous goods have a duty to keep their workers, the community and the environment safe.
All Victorians have a role to play in keeping the community safe from the mishandling of dangerous goods. I am pleased to inform the Member that WorkSafe’s dangerous goods awareness campaign encourages the local community and workers in high risk areas to report anything which is a cause of concern. The campaign has included a range of targeted communications to transport drivers encouraging them to report unsafe practices. Additionally, more than 25,000 workplaces, including many in the Western Metropolitan Region, associated with the storage of dangerous goods have been targeted to ensure they fully understand their obligations under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 and the tougher penalties now in place.
The awareness campaign has run in the west’s community newspapers, such as the Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay Star Weekly, at bus stops, online and on social media, and has been broadcast on radio in 10 different languages. This is helping to raise awareness among the high number of migrant workers employed in the storage and handling of dangerous goods in the west, and across Victoria. As the Member notes, if something doesn’t look, sound or smell right where they live or work, report it to WorkSafe immediately.