The MBA has always supported strong action to manage the impact of silica dust exposure on building sites. That is why we implemented one of the first training courses to make our members aware of the impacts of silica dust exposure; we discussed appropriate control measures through our sector councils and safety committee; and we worked with other MBAs nationally to ensure our industry was addressing this important safety issue. However, the ACT Government’s rush to implement silica regulation has only added confusion and uncertainty to the industry, placed stress on employers and PCBUs by changing regulation with almost no time for companies to adjust to new rules, and implemented a mandatory silica awareness training program that didn’t recognise the industry-led training that had already been completed in favour of a new course owned by non-government monopoly provider.
For the best part of 12 months the MBA ACT has responded to the ACT Government’s mandated training program by leading all other RTOs in the amount of training we have provided for our members and local industry. This has placed a huge strain on our industry and on our staff and trainers.
MBA Group Training has now trained close to 4,000 workers in the mandatory silica awareness program. While Government holds no accurate data about the training completed by all training organisations, we understand just over half of our industry has now been trained. MBA Group Training has a list of more than 500 people waiting for an available training course. We understand the waiting list for other RTOs is also starting to grow.
With less than five weeks until the training deadline and $30,000 fines for PCBUs who haven’t been able to train all their workers and subcontractors on the table, it is clear to us that industry won’t meet the training deadline. This has been obvious to the MBA and our members for months, yet we are still working to convince the ACT Government that if it has taken 12 months to train 9,000 workers, then we won’t train the remaining 6-7,000 workers in five weeks. Those figures don’t even include the additional interstate workers, new entrants to the industry, apprentices and trainees starting their construction career.
The MBA is calling on the ACT Government to extend the training deadline for a minimum of 6 months to allow everyone that needs training, to complete training.
We understand the strain that the training deadline is placing on businesses at a time when the last thing you need is another obstacle to run your business.
We hope to update you very soon about the Government’s decision on an extension to the training deadline.
If you agree that an extension of time is needed, you can email the ACT’s Workplace Safety Minister requesting an extension of time at email@example.com. We have prepared an example of this email for you, here.