I speak in support of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Assaults on Retail Workers) Bill 2023. This Government made an election commitment to better protect retail workers from abuse and violence, and this bill delivers directly on that promise. As the pandemic showed, retail workers are essential workers. Sadly, the pandemic also showed us numerous examples of those workers being assaulted while trying to do their jobs. My thoughts go out to those critical frontline workers. My own daughters have all worked in retail. It is the first job that the children of many members in this place and parents across the State will have. I thank everyone in the retail industry for giving our kids the opportunity to earn a few bucks while they are studying or doing whatever it is they choose to do in their life. The mistreatment of retail workers is simply unacceptable. In response, the bill will introduce three new offences into the Crimes Act 1900 to provide more severe penalties for assaulting retail workers.
The offences act to protect workers, whether they are subjected to verbal abuse and harassment, physical assault or grievous bodily harm. The bill introduces a new offence, being to assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a retail worker in the course of their duty, even if no actual bodily harm is caused. This will attract a maximum of four years' imprisonment. It will also introduce an offence to assault a retail worker in the course of their duty and cause actual bodily harm, attracting a maximum of six years' imprisonment. A third new offence, which will attract a maximum of 11 years' imprisonment, will be to wound or cause grievous bodily harm to a retail worker in the course of their duty, being reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to the worker or another person.
Like others, and following on from the member for Newcastle, I acknowledge the work of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association [SDA] Newcastle and Northern Branch in advocating for stronger protections of retail workers right across our region. In particular, I acknowledge branch secretary Barbara Nebart, branch assistant secretary David Bliss and all of their team, because I know how hard they have been working, alongside the Government, to better protect workers. In the lead-up to the Christmas period the union ran the No One Deserves A Serve campaign to highlight the mistreatment of retail workers and to promote respectful interactions with them. I echo the sentiments of the Attorney General in thanking the SDA for engaging with the Government both in opposition and since being elected to government. The SDA has engaged with members to bring forward their long-held concerns and to support evidence and testimony from workers.
I know the SDA welcomes this legislative change. I can assure all workers and our friends in the union movement that the Government takes workers' rights seriously, and it will work hard to defend and enhance those rights. Our track record proves this. Not only have we introduced this bill, but we have also put forward a 4½ per cent pay rise for public sector workers. The Minister for Industrial Relations, and Minister for Work Health and Safety, has already foreshadowed that the Government will bring legislation to begin the major repair job of fixing our workers compensation scheme, which was run into the ground by members opposite. I acknowledge the work of the Attorney General and the Minister for Industrial Relations, and Minister for Work Health and Safety, in bringing the bill to the House.
Everyone deserves to feel safe at work. The bill will strengthen protections for retail workers and ensure that those who commit acts of violence against retail workers are subject to appropriate penalties. Every worker deserves to be respected. Every worker deserves to have the best conditions possible. Every worker deserves an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. The Government supports workers across New South Wales. Retail workers can have confidence that we take them seriously and we applaud them for the work they do. They are essential workers. I am delighted to commend the bill to the House.