Phnom Penh (FN), Sep. 16 – Today, Australian ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang and Chhann Saphan, permanent secretary of state, Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), signed a Subsidiary Arrangement to formalise cooperation on enhancing construction safety in Cambodia, according to Australian embassy’s media release dated Thursday.
Ambassador Kang met with Chea Sophara, minister of MLMUPC, prior to the signing ceremony to discuss Australia’s ongoing technical support in the construction sector and Australia-Cambodia bilateral relations more broadly.
Under the SA, Australia is supporting MLMUPC to develop Cambodia’s first legally mandated Construction Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) guidelines to improve safety and reduce the risks of deaths and accidents on Cambodian construction sites. Work on the guideline is well underway and expected for completion by the end of 2021. Australia will also provide capacity building to MLMUPC on overseeing and enforcing the new standards as well as raising private sector awareness of their responsibilities to promote safe worksites.
“The rapid transformation of Cambodia’s cities has created new challenges.” said Ambassador Kang.
“The major building collapses in recent years were tragedies. We saw it as imperative for Australia to respond quickly and effectively to the Cambodian Government’s request for support to improve the safety of Cambodia’s construction workers, their families and the public including for COVID-19 related risks.”
Chea Sophara said “since Cambodia passed its landmark Construction Law in 2019, we have been working ceaselessly on implementation. Enforceable safety standards for work sites are vital and we appreciate Australia’s support for us to move ahead with this quickly.”
As part of this package of assistance, Australia also arranged for Cambodian officials to travel to Australia in early 2020 to undertake a short course on construction safety including reviewing site safety practices and meeting with Australian agencies responsible for regulating construction safety issues.
Australia’s continuing assistance on construction safety is provided through the six-year AUD 49.4 million ‘Investing in Infrastructure’ (3i) program.
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