Ai Group has welcomed a NSW Government decision to immediately introduce legislation reflecting the Model Work Health and Safety Act agreed to under the process of OHS harmonization.
Ai Group NSW Director Mark Goodsell said industry has been eagerly awaiting the introduction of consistent workplace safety laws throughout Australia.
“The model has been developed, but it requires each State to formally pass it, said Mr Goodsell.
“This decisive move by the new NSW Government is the start of this process, which will hopefully be complete by January 2012 in time for the scheduled start of a harmonised system.
"The model Act is innovative and balanced. It combines fair standards of legal responsibility with strong penalties for those who think good safety is optional. It also provides individual workers with the tools to have an effective say in safety at their workplace.
“Most of the provisions have operated in some form in at least one state in the past, so there is not a lot that is new to safety. However, the promise that the same standards are now available to be picked up in every state, starting with NSW, means that industry would no longer be diverted by conflicting rules and mixed messages about what is important in workplace safety. This sense of focus is by far the most important outcome from harmonization.”
The proposed national safety laws follow more than two years of review and analysis by industry, unions and safety regulators across the country.
Draft model regulations to underpin the proposed legislation has been subject to a public comment period and are now being reviewed by the same parties through Safe Work Australia.
"Ai Group strongly urges all other states to follow the leadership of NSW and adopt the model Act," Mr Goodsell said.