Earlier this week, the Australian Treasurer, Wayne Swan, delivered the budget statements for the next 12 months. There were several issues that may have an impact on industrial relations and workplace safety over the next few years but the most obvious and tangible commitment was on the issue of a national worker’s memorial.
According to Budget Paper Number 2 (page 167):
“The Government will provide $3.6 million over four years for the establishment of a National Workers’ Memorial and an interactive website. The National Workers’ Memorial will honour Australian workers who have lost their lives due to work related accidents, incidents or disease, and serve as a reminder of the importance of workplace safety.”
The project will be coordinated by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations who, it is understood, has already been discussing this concept.
Additional detail is required about the project as there is a major opportunity to build a dignified memorial and website but there is also a risk of producing something that alienates those worker support groups. Any issues related to a memorial about worker deaths requires careful consideration and coordination.