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The Federal Government’s commission of audit has suggested consolidating a number of safety bodies and privatising the underwriting of the commonwealth workers compensation scheme.

The Phase One Report says Safe Work Australia; Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency; Comcare; Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission; and Seafarers’ Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority should be consolidated in the Department of Employment.

The Phase Two Report recommends the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council should be abolished.

The second report also recommends Comcare’s claims management be outsourced and its workers’ compensation insurance scheme be underwritten by the private sector.

Further, the report advocates that CSR Australia should stop functioning in mid-2015, allowing the private sector to provide rehabilitation services. “Some of CRS Australia’s allied health professionals could be transitioned to the National Disability Insurance Agency,” the report said.

For more detail, visit the commission of audit.

Published on 8 May 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Western Australia’s version of the model resource and general work health and safety laws could pass through the WA parliament by November.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, the Work Health and Safety (Resources) Act is expected to be operating in Western Australia in early 2015.

Also, the new general work health and safety laws are included in the WorkSafe WA Business Plan 2013-2014.

However, the timing of both laws has become clearer.

The minutes from the recent meeting of the WA Ministerial Advisory Panel on Safety Legislation Reform include an indicative timetable, which notes both laws being introduced into the WA parliament in August and passing the parliament by November.

As flagged by the WA Government some time ago, some of the provisions in the laws will differ from the model work health and safety laws, such as work health and safety representatives not having the power to direct the cessation of work.

For more detail, visit the meeting minutes.

Published on 23 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

10 Apr 2014

G20, but no Qld

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As Safe Work Australia ponders its G20 safety contribution and reviews the model laws, no mention is made of the safety law changes in Queensland.

Safe Work Australia members met last week and noted in their communique that an employment sub-group of the G20 Taskforce is considering how the G20 might contribute to safer workplaces.

The members said Safe Work Australia is representing Australia in this sub-group, which includes six other countries plus the International Labour Organization.

At last week’s Safe Work Australia meeting, an update on the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws was also provided, but no detail was offered nor was there mention of the recent and significant changes to Queensland’s WHS law.

The Model laws are currently under review, with the members noting that Safe Work Australia will be “monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the model WHS laws to improve operational efficiency, remove unnecessary regulation and improve safety outcomes”.

Also at this meeting, the members agreed to start work on scoping national interventions for managing priority hazardous chemicals. “The process for prioritising hazardous chemicals was agreed by members at its March 2013 meeting and aligns with the priority diseases related to hazardous chemicals in the Australian Strategy – cancer, dermatitis and asthma,” the communique said.

For more details, visit Safe Work Australia.

Published on 10 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Queensland Government has passed laws that strip health and safety representatives of their power to direct workers to stop unsafe work.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, the power downgrade is among a raft of changes in the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014.

The bill passed the Queensland Parliament last week, and the new laws will start on proclamation which will occur at a date to be determined.

In addition to removing the power of health and safety representatives to direct workers to stop unsafe work, the bill also provides for a number of other changes.

Among these changes, unions must give at least 24-hours notice before they can enter a workplace to inquire about a suspected WHS breach; a person conducting a business or undertaking no longer needs to provide a list of health and safety representatives to the work health and safety regulator; and codes of practice adopted in Queensland can be approved, varied or revoked without requiring national consultation.

For more details, visit the changes to the law.

Published on 10 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

New resource sector safety laws are expected to be introduced in Western Australia in early 2015.

The legislation – to be known as the Work Health and Safety (Resources) Act – will cover mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities, says the WA Government’s resources website.

This single piece of legislation will be based on the model work health and safety laws developed through Safe Work Australia and the National Mine Safety Framework.

Meanwhile, the model Work Health and Safety laws are included in the WorkSafe WA Business Plan 2013-2014.

“WorkSafe (subject to government prioritisation) will implement the Harmonisation Framework across Australian workplaces and will ensure timely implementation of 2013-2014 budget priorities and initiatives,” the plan says.

For more details, visit the WA resources website and the WA Business Plan.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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