National freecall: 1800 655 510    Member Portal  

News Articles and Updates Archive

Home
Legislation and Guidance
Page 4

The federal government’s bill to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) is before another Senate Committee for further scrutiny.

The Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 was initially vetted by a Senate Committee late last year.

On 2 December the Committee’s government members recommended that the bill pass the Senate. However, the ALP and Greens members concluded that the bill should be rejected.

Among the ALP’s concerns was the bill’s proposal to extend the reach of the ABCC’s powers to picketing, offshore construction and the transport and supply of goods to building sites.

“This proposal would subject industries beyond the building and construction industry to unnecessary legislation and judicial complication, which could in theory lead to disengagement of the logistics industry from the building and construction industry proper,” the ALP’s dissenting report said.

The Greens also recommend rejecting the bill. “The [first] ABCC was biased in its work as it was driven by an ideological attack on construction workers and unions,” the Greens’ dissenting report said.

“Further, in recent years Australia’s construction industry laws have been condemned by the International Labour Organization six times. For these reasons the Australian Greens reject the bills in their entirety.”

Since then the bill has been re-referred to another Committee to re-examine the government’s approach to re-establishing the ABCC.

According to the second Committee’s terms of reference, this includes assessing “the extreme and heavy-handed proposed powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, including coercive powers, conduct of compulsory interviews, and imprisonment for those who do not cooperate”.

The bill was referred to the second Committee on 4 December. Submissions are due tomorrow, with the committee expected to report on the last sitting day in March.

For more details, visit the second Senate Inquiry.

Published on 16 January 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The Federal Government announced this week that the moratorium on private corporations seeking to become self-insurers under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme has been lifted.

The Former ALP government imposed the moratorium in 2007.

Private corporations can now submit an application to the Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz to determine if they are eligible to apply for a workers’ compensation self-insurance licence under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the Minister that they are in competition with a current or former Commonwealth authority.

The minister may also consider other factors, including the likely impact of a self-insurance licence on employees and the corporation.

If a corporation is eligible, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission will then consider the suitability of the applicant to hold a licence.

For more details, visit the Department of Employment.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

05 Dec 2013

Unions reject Qld’s WHS changes

By There are no tags 0 comments

The ACTU says proposed changes to Queensland’s work health and safety (WHS) laws will increase safety risks.

Earlier this year the Queensland Government launched a review of the WHS laws and sought feedback from businesses.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin the review found support for the laws but also the need for change.

The Queensland Government said the proposed changes were significant and the amendments needed to go before the national Select Council on Workplace Relations before they were implemented.

Details of the changes would be made available once they had been approved.

However, the ACTU has already cited the changes. It says the proposals call “for national laws that require unions to give 24 hours’ notice before entering a site and [the removal of the] right of health and safety reps to call a cease work due to safety concerns”.

“Expecting workers to individually speak up about their safety concerns will ultimately mean that many will not speak up or could lose their job if they do. Some workers won’t be willing or able to put their hands up and complain, especially if they are in casual work,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick.

Borowick added: “Forcing unions to give 24 hours’ notice before visiting a workplace where suspected safety [breaches] are occurring would take pressure off employers to ensure workplaces are always safe”.

He said the Queensland Government “should wait for the national OHS law review in 2016, not respond with knee-jerk laws”.

For more details, see Workplace Safety Queensland and the ACTU.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

05 Dec 2013

Legal loophole quashed

By There are no tags 0 comments

Legislation ensuring work health and safety (WHS) prosecutions aren’t thrown out on a technicality has passed the New South Wales parliament.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin The Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced into parliament last month.

The bill has now passed both houses without amendments.

It clarifies that the District and Local Courts have jurisdiction over WHS prosecutions brought under the repealed Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2000.

The OHS Act 2000 was repealed and replaced with the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 in January 2012.

The bill also clarifies the validity of the WHS Regulations 2011 and that proceedings may be brought and prosecuted by a legal practitioner representing a WorkCover inspector or the regulator.

The District Court’s jurisdiction and the other matters had been challenged in the courts. The amendments aim to prevent such challenges in the future.

For more details, visit the legislation.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

07 Nov 2013

Qld moves to change WHS laws

By There are no tags 0 comments

Proposed changes to the recently introduced WHS laws in Queensland have led to the expiry date of the transitional arrangements being extended.

Earlier this year the Queensland Government launched a review of the new WHS laws and sought feedback from businesses.

The review found support for the laws but also the need for change, including the removal of audiometric testing for workers and the “streamlining [of] some asbestos-related requirements”.

Details about the changes have yet to be released. However, the government says they are significant and amendments will need to go before the national Select Council of Workplace Relations before they are implemented.

As these changes won’t be made until after 31 December, the expiry date of the transitional arrangements will be extended for another year – until December 2014.

The government says detail on the changes won’t be available until they are approved.

For more details, Work Health and Safety Queensland.

Published on 7 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


Safe-T-Bulletin

Safety and Training E-Bulletin is a free subscription service emailed fortnightly with news, training dates and NSCA updates.

 

© Fire and Safety Australia Pty Ltd


Connect with the NSCA on LinkedIn Subscribe to RSS feed

 

The name NSCA & other NSCA brands & logos are trademarks of Fire and Safety Australia Pty Ltd & are used under licence. The NSCA is a registered Training Organisation RTO No: 22250.