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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Mon Mar 11 07:15:08 2002
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 15:05:56 -0600 (CST)
From: Child Labour News Service <childlabournews@vsnl.net>
Subject: Child Labour News Service Release - March 1, 2002
Organization: Child Labour News Service
Article: 134896
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Dangerous work is no place for our kids: Trades Hall calls for ban on children under 15's in worst industries

UN Information Service, in Trades Hall News,
[10 March 2002]

The Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) has called for a total ban on the employment of young people, under 15 years, in the States four most dangerous industries, agriculture, transport and storage, construction and manufacturing.

In its submission to the first government review of child labour laws in 30 years, the VTHC has called for a complete employment ban on children aged under 13, except where being a child is intrinsic to the job such as child actors and models. But it has promoted a ban on children aged under 15 from working in the four industries with the worst health and safety record.

The council also asked for a big rise in penalties for breaches of child job laws to $10,000 or one year's jail. At present, most breaches attract fines of about $100.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has endorsed as long overdue the need for a review of child employment laws and penalties, but it expressed caution at outlawing child labour on farms and in mixed businesses.

VTHC secretary Leigh Hubbard said unions expected an outcry from farmers, but their protests would not stop the push for greater safety.

'These industries have an appalling health and safety record and our kids shouldn't be working in such dangerous places. Last year alone, 998 workers under 18 years were injured in Victorian workplaces and 18 of those injuries resulted in amputations,' said Hubbard.

The union submission would not stop children carrying out chores such as feeding hens and calves, but would focus on preventing children under 15 from being involved in mechanical work such as driving tractors and operating harvesters and other heavy machinery. The unions also want the abolition of exemption from the permit system for charities and family-run businesses.

The Trades Hall submission also calls for the re-establishment of the Victorian Youth Industrial Unit, abolished by the previous State government, with appropriate allocation of funding and resources for research capabilities, education and compliance enforcement procedures and to administer the issuing of all child employment permits.

Calling the proposal unrealistic, the Victorian Farmers Federation has vowed to resist these attempts.