In an interview with the Australian Financial Review of 20 January 2009, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, has indicated a preference for the Workplace Relations Ministerial Council to “create an executive agency that did not need the approval of parliament”.
The article goes on to report Gillard’s OHS plan
“the states would use executive powers to create another regulator to control the new laws to avoid the need for approval from the federal parliament…”
The process she proposes has broader ramifications for the Rudd government’s reform agenda, as can be indicated by the placement of the article on the cover of the conservative newspaper, the Australian Financial Review
Gillard’s proposal is not ideal and as the AFR editorial points out, it is the inflexibility of the Coalition and Greens that has put this option on the Minister’s agenda. It is an important move and one that is likely to receive support from the OHS professional organisations who have lobbied for a central OHS regulatory agency.
The next step is to see what the review panel into model OHS law recommends in its report due to be handed to the government at the end of January 2009.
[The articles are not available on line as AFR.com is a subscription-only service]