The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. Is it a fact that the staff of the occupational health and safety regulation development unit at the WorkCover Authority are not currently working on any projects, given that the Minister's new occupational health and safety regulations are stalled? Can the Minister inform the House why these WorkCover staff are inactive at a time when the Minister is attempting to introduce major reforms to workers compensation in this State?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I think the Hon. Charlie Lynn's question is based on a false premise: that in some way officers of WorkCover are working in a division that is not occupied by the normal course of their business. As the honourable member knows, and I think the House knows, well and truly before my time as Minister many discussions and a long period of consultation took place regarding the introduction of a new occupational health and safety regulatory regime to replace the factories, shops and industries regime that has served New South Wales law for a long time but in many respects has now become an outmoded method of regulating health and safety in industry.
As I have pointed out to many of the stakeholders, almost 60 per cent of the work force in modern New South Wales is excluded from the protection of a regulated code under the current factories, shops and industries regulatory framework. We have been anxious to ensure that that new regulatory framework is put in place, but we have been very patient. The previous Minister, the Hon. Jeff Shaw, told all the stakeholders that the consultation process would be exhaustive, and that is a matter that I have confirmed.
The Hon. Charlie Lynn asked what projects are being undertaken by the occupational health and safety regulation development unit of the WorkCover Authority. I think that was one of the 20 questions I took on notice last night at the estimates committee hearing. If it was not exactly the same question, it was certainly a question very similar to that. The chairman of the estimates committee, Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile, indicated to me that under the rules relating to estimates committees I had 25 days in which to answer the questions taken on notice. Therefore, rather than take the question on notice again, I will check the record to see whether the Hon. Charlie Lynn's question is identical to the question I was asked last night, and will provide a response to the honourable member within the period specified by the chairman of the estimates committee.
The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN: I ask the Minister a supplementary question. When the Minister obtains that information, will he advise the House exactly what the staff of the unit are doing at this time?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: The honourable member's earlier question sought a specific response in relation to what the staff of the unit are doing. I assume that I will be able to provide him with that information.