Industrial Manslaughter laws likely for Victoria

With little surprise, at the Australian Labor Party (ALP) Conference in Victoria on 26 May 2018, Premier Daniel Andrews has included the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws as a formal part of the campaign for re-election in November 2018.

According to his media release, if re-elected,

“.., employers will face fines of almost $16 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will be held to account and face up to 20 years in jail.

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure all Victorians are safe in our workplaces, with the offence to also apply when an employer’s negligent conduct causes the death of an innocent member of the public..”

There are a lot of steps between an incident and Industrial Manslaughter charges. 

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Melbourne’s Worker Memorial ceremony

The Melbourne ceremony for International Workers Memorial Day was held on 27 April 2018 and had a good turnout.  The standout “speaker” was Lana Cormie (pictured right), whose husband, Charlie Howkins in a trench collapse in March 2018, a work colleague died later in hospital from injuries from the incident. Victorian Trades Hall’s Luke Hilakari was fired up in his talk about the importance of occupational health and safety (OHS) and the need for Industrial Manslaughter laws.

Cormie’s speech was read out by

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The review of Australia’s OHS laws starts

In 19 February 2018, Safe Work Australia (SWA) “launched” the independent review of Australia’s Work Health and Safety laws under former Executive Director of SafeWorkSA, Marie Boland.  SWA has released a 49-page discussion paper, a summary and a list of questions.  Below is an initial response to some of those questions.

What are your views on the effectiveness of the three-tiered approach – model WHS Act supported by model WHS Regulations and model WHS Codes – to achieve the object of the model WHS laws?

The structure works well, when business owners know of the relevant documents.

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Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire

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Victoria is the latest Australian State to introduce laws into Parliament that establish a licencing scheme for labour hire operators. The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 was read into Parliament on 14 December 2017 (Hansard, pages 55-61)

The Bill is compatible with the laws passed recently in Queensland and South Australia which apply a universal licencing scheme rather than a sectoral one as preferred by some organisations.  This should make the scheme easier to administer as it removes demarcation disputes and, as pointed out by the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, removes loopholes of opportunity for avoiding obligations – a critical consideration in a sector that has shown such disregard for legal obligations. Continue reading “Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire”