POLICE dished out 125 banning notices to people across the NT in 2019-20 in an effort to curb alcohol-related offences.
Within hours of setting up Operation Safe Prospect — a WorkSafe ACT project to make residential construction sites safer — three sites in Denman Prospect were shut down.
WorkSafe’s initial plan was to first engage with those in the construction industry on their worksite safety, but Work Health and Safety Commissioner Jacqueline Agius said that, upon arriving at three sites in west Canberra’s booming development area, they were forced to shut work down completely.
“We came out to have conversations, instead what we [did] was close down three sites,” Ms Agius said.
“This is not good enough.
Indeed, over the following two weeks, the watchdog visited 76 worksites and issued 120 notices, including 31 prohibition notices and one infringement notice which carried a $3,600 penalty.
One Canberra builder had 11 separate sites shut down over safety concerns.
WorkSafe ACT has also teamed up with Access Canberra’s building quality team to crack down on dodgy operators.
ACT construction occupations registrar Ben Green said bad safety and bad quality often went together.
“There is certainly evidence to suggest that some builders who have had experience with poor building quality have also had poor work safety outcomes,” Mr Green said.
Mr Green said Access Canberra had already issued two rectification notices on buildings this financial year; that follows on from seven rectification orders — including two emergency rectification orders — last year.
Ms Agius said it was time for those in Canberra’s residential construction sector to lift their game.
“[We have] a long-term strategy. The mission is to create a strong safety culture in residential construction,” she said.
The capital has a poor record for construction safety — this year, Canberra’s construction industry has recorded two worksite deaths and countless injuries.
But WorkSafe ACT said the safety-first message was just not getting through.
In response, WorkSafe launched Operation Safe Prospect last month, to target residential construction greenfield sites across Canberra — that is, construction sites in undeveloped areas, typically on agricultural land.
“Every time we come out to a residential suburb we see more and more improvement notices, more and more prohibition notices and more and more infringements,” Ms Agius said.
“It’s time to get real about safety.”
Ms Agius said the days of WorkSafe conducting blitzes in the sector were in the past, and the Operation’s enforcement action would be ongoing.
“The strategy will go for three years but we’ll be at each greenfield site within the next three months,” she said.
“I don’t believe in blitzes; blitzes suggest we’re here, we have quick impact and we go away.
Ms Agius said the areas WorkSafe would prioritise were risks of fall from heights, housekeeping, scaffolding, site security, and proper signage.
Madras high court
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Tuesday set aside a breach of privilege motion initiated against 19 MLAs, including DMK president M K Stalin, for waving gutka packets in the Tamil Nadu assembly. The 19 MLAs also include Ku Ka Selvam who was expelled from the party recently.
The first bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy passed the order while partly allowing the petitions moved by the legislators.
However, the privilege committee is at liberty to reconsider the issue if it still feels that the act amounts to breach of privilege, the court said.
On July 19, 2017, Stalin and 20 other DMK MLAs waved gutka packets inside the House to demonstrate that the banned item was easily available in the state. However, the speaker referred the issue to the privilege committee to ascertain whether their action would constitute breach of privilege of the House.
On August 28, 2017, the privilege committee of the assembly initiated the proceedings and issued show-cause notices to Stalin and 20 MLAs asking them why action should not be taken against them for the breach of privilege of the assembly.
Challenging the proceeding, the 21 legislators moved the high court. On September 7, 2017 the high court passed an interim order and stayed further proceedings in the issue. Two of the 21 MLAs died in the meantime.
After a lull of three years, on July 10, advocate-general Vijay Narayan and government pleader V Jayaprakash Narayan made a mention before the first bench seeking to recommence the hearing of the case.
“The term of the legislators as well as the Tamil Nadu is going to expire soon, and the case must be allotted an early hearing and brought to a logical conclusion,” Vijay Narayan said.
In view of the submission, the case was taken up for final hearing on August 12, 13 and 14. After three days of continuous hearing the bench reserved its order.
JAIPUR: Sacked Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot and his band of 18 Congress MLAs on Thursday filed a petition in the high court, challenging the constitutional validity of “some provisions” in the legislature rules invoked by the Speaker to issue them disqualification notices on grounds of defying the party whip and staying away from CLP meetings on consecutive days.
Challenging Congress’s reliance on the (anti-defection) law to stem dissent, the petition argues that it could potentially have dangerous consequences such as an elected representative being deprived of assembly membership at the “whims and fancies of the leader of the party”.
Two versions of the petition were heard during the day, first at 3pm and again at 5pm, before the single-judge bench of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma acceded to a plea to list the matter before a division bench.
Pilot’s lawyers — Harish Salve, Mukul Rohatgi and Devadutt Kamat — had sought time to amend the petition during the first hearing, saying the petitioners wanted to incorporate elements challenging the constitutional validity of portions of the Rajasthan Assembly Member (Disqualification on the grounds of changing party) Rules, 1989. The plea was accepted despite opposition from Congress counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi and advocate general MS Singhvi, representing the Speaker.
The original petition had only challenged the notices issued by Speaker CP Joshi on the basis of a complaint filed by Congress against Pilot and his loyalists, accusing them of conspiring with BJP to topple the Ashok Gehlot government. The division bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta will take up the amended joint petition on Friday.
According to the petition, which lists Pilot as petitioner No. 7, all 19 MLAs who have been served notices by the Speaker are still with Congress and none of them has given up assembly membership. The petition mentions that Pilot had already issued multiple statements saying he had no intention of leaving Congress.
The MLAs’ petition argues that the Speaker should have given them at least a week’s time to respond to the allegations against them instead of just two days (till 3pm on July 17). “Grave mischief is sought to be achieved by the prejudicial manner in which the CLP is seeking to impose sanctions upon the MLAs on sheer presumptuous basis, as the complaint (by Congress chief whip) is dated July 14 and the showcause notice is issued (by the speaker) on the same day,” the petition states.
The MLAs accused Gehlot of trying to threaten them through an inquiry by the Special Operations Group (SOG) so that they wouldn’t raise their voices against “the inefficiency of leadership within the party”.
On being taken to task for not attending CLP meetings, the Pilot camp has said that skipping party conclaves cannot be considered tantamount to inviting disqualification on grounds of defection.
Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi reached the court with an impleadment application, saying he should be made party to the case as the Speaker had issued notices based on his petition filed under para 2(1)A of Schedule X of the Constitution.
In the past 24 hours, one person has been issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) COVID-19.