The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, today welcomed the establishment of a committee to establish an Australian National Workers’ Memorial in Canberra.
Ms Gillard said that Senator Doug Cameron had worked hard on the establishment of the memorial and commended him for his tireless efforts to bring to attention the public sacrifice of all workers who have lost their lives at work.
Senator Cameron will chair a committee comprising Senator Gary Humphries (Liberal Party), Senator Kate Lundy (ALP), Senator John Williams (National Party) and Senator Rachel Siewert (Australian Greens) that will guide the establishment of the memorial.
The memorial committee was announced on International Workers’ Memorial Day also known as World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
It encourages all those who have an opportunity to influence safety at work – including business leaders, employers, workers and their representatives – to work together to improve health and safety performance. This cooperation is essential in helping to prevent work-related accidents and deaths.
Ms Gillard said that even one death or injury in a workplace is one too many and that all employers and workers have a duty to ensure that when somebody leaves their family for the start of each working day, they can expect to return home safely when their work is done.
Workers’ Memorial Day originated in Canada in 1984 and takes place each year on April 28.
In 2001, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recognised Workers’ Memorial Day and announced 28 April as an International Day of Action for Safety and Health at Work. It is now an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work around the globe.
Workers’ Memorial Day is now an international day of remembrance and is recognised as a national day in numerous countries including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Luxembourg, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and the US.
The Deputy Prime Minister urged the Committee to consult widely with the community in developing designs for the Memorial.