Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety Mick Gentleman today met with Federal, State and Territory Ministers for Workplace Safety to discuss the implementation of Marie Boland’s 2018 Review of the Model Work Health and Safety Laws.
“We agreed to take action on all 34 recommendations of Boland Review to improve the model work health and safety laws,” Minister Gentleman said.
“However, I was very disappointed that the Federal Government did not vote in favour of introducing industrial manslaughter as an offence under the model laws.
“The ACT voted with other Labor States and Territories in favour of new industrial manslaughter laws.
“But we knew we could not count of the support of the Federal Minister – this is why we have moved ahead on our own to introduce industrial manslaughter in the Work Health and Safety Act. This will include jailtime is a penalty for industrial manslaughter.
“Every worker has the right to return home safely from work and governments and employers have an important role to play in this. We want to ensure families of those killed in the workplace have access to justice.
“I was pleased that a majority of states agreed to make regulations to deal with psychological hazards in the workplace. Bullying, harassment and sexual harassment are never okay – they are health hazards that must be managed under work health and safety duties.
“The ACT Government has already commenced work on regulations and a Code of Practice for managing psychosocial hazards, such as bulling and sexual harassment in the workplace.
“We also discussed deaths and injuries of gig economy workers. Although there was an agreement to take further action, these are unfortunately a bandaid solution to a larger problem.
“The gig economy model relies on insecure work and unsafe conditions and is fundamentally stacked against worker rights. Because these workers are not recognised as employees , they may be denied basic rights and entitlements and rights such as fair pay.
“This creates the dangerous conditions that have contributed to so many gig-economy injuries and deaths. I implore my colleagues to work together and take further action to ensure that these vulnerable workers are protected.