Before Christmas, the Victorian Government will be presenting a Bill for Industrial Manslaughter laws to the Parliament. The core elements of accountability and penalty are expected to be little different to the Bill that failed to pass Parliament earlier this Century by a bee’s whatsit. The debate is likely to be on the same benefits and costs, so one can reread Victoria’s Hansard from 2002 or look at the debate in Queensland Parliament last week where that Government’s “Safety Reset” has generated arguments about which party is more committed to occupational health and safety (OHS).
Last week the Queensland Government proposed changing some of the health and safety laws that relate to mining. Changes to occupational health and safety (OHS) laws that improve workplace safety are almost always welcome, but to some extent these recent changes are “catch-up”.
The Government’s media statement of the proposed laws is very positive and the changes are largely very good. Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham is quoted saying
“The Department’s mines inspectorate through their investigations have found that one of the causes of an increase in risk is due to contractors not having a full understanding of the SHMS on the mining site…”