National initiative, NSW focus
On 4 May 2011, the NSW Government introduced
a Bill to enact the national
model work health and safety legislation. The Bill was
passed by the NSW Parliament on 1 June 2011.
There are currently nine different work health and safety (WHS)
laws across Australia. All states and territories have committed to
working towards uniform safety standards across Australia.
The new work health and safety laws will:
reduce compliance costs and red tape for employers
maintain NSW's strong work, health and safety framework
keep businesses accountable
make laws easier to understand while protecting workers.
More details on the changes are available from the:
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Safe Work Australia updates
On 10 August 2011, the Workplace Relations Ministers' Council
endorsed the National Compliance and Enforcement
Policy, which was developed by Safe Work Australia in
consultation with the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities. Under
the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational
reform in Occupational Health and Safety, all jurisdictions made a
commitment that harmonised WHS laws would be complemented by a
nationally consistent approach to compliance policy and enforcement
policy. The National Compliance and Enforcement Policy
gives effect to this commitment.
The National Policy sets out the approach work health and safety
regulators will take to compliance and enforcement under the
model WHS Act and
WorkCover is committed to adopting the National Compliance and
The new WHS laws will be effective from 1 January 2012.
interim Bill was
introduced to the NSW Parliament to amend the current
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000(Act) to mirror
some key parts the national model laws in the lead up to the 1
January 2012 implementation. The Bill was passed on 1 June 2011
and will offer more clarity and help prepare everyone for the
The key amendments will remove the:
'reverse onus of proof' for employers by qualifying their
primary duty of care by what is reasonably practicable (rather
than them having to prove that compliance was not reasonably
deeming of liability for directors and managers of corporations
for a breach of the Act.
demonstrate they have exercised all due diligence but will
now only be liable for their own acts or omissions.