There are some OHS professionals in Australia who follow the harmonisation of the country’s OHS laws closely. The current status is that the various public submissions are being analysed and discussed by the Government.
But for those who are hankering for some pre-Christmas reading the New South Wales Parliament has released a report called “Managerial Federalism – COAG and the States” written by Gareth Griffith. This is not a report about OHS, although the topic does get a brief mention on page 25.
OHS harmonisation is perhaps one of the simpler reform processes compared with tax or the legal sector.
The report provides a very good summary of the various consultative structures that the Federal and State Governments operate within as the country changes to a process of “managerial federalism”. The report summary defines “managerial federalism” as
“…defined to be administrative in its mode of operation, pragmatic in orientation, concerned with the effective and rational management of human and other resources, and rich in policy goals and objectives. The States play a creative and proactive part but are, to a substantial degree, service providers whose performance is subject to continuous scrutiny and oversight.”
(“Rational management”? Has everyone in the Australian government been told to read the book by Kepner and Tregoe? Let’s hope it’s not the 1965 edition.)
Being familiar with some of the concepts and rationales in the report may help those lucky enough to be consulted on government decision-making to know their place in the wild scheme of bureaucratic policy-making. It may even prove invaluable if you are the safety coordinator on one of the Governments’ many infrastructure projects.