Elected in March this year, the McGowan Government has wasted no time in giving the green light to develop a modernised Work Health and Safety Bill for Western Australia.
According to the government, it will be based on the national Work Health and Safety Act, which they say will improve consistency with the rest of Australia and provide the primary legislation for workplace safety and health across all Western Australia industries.
In 2009, Western Australia and Victoria failed to implement the model WHS regulations after the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill was finalised by the then Workplace Relations Ministers Council (now called the Select Council on Workplace Relations (SCWR). In 2011, the model WHS Regulations were finalised by the SCWR, which provided the platform for the delivery of more consistent laws across Australia.
The newly proposed Bill will be supported by a number of industry specific regulations to suit the State's unique conditions, enabling the resources sector to continue to use a risk-based approach. Industries like petroleum and major hazard facilities will continue to operate under a safety case approach.
"The safety and health of workers is a high priority of the McGowan Government,” said Mines and Petroleum and Commerce and Industrial Minister Bill Johnston.
"Occupational, health and safety legislation in Western Australia is 30 years old and is out of date. This is why we're taking action - the new Bill is an important step in updating and improving the regulation of workplace health and safety."
The State Government's single Act approach has been adopted following collaboration between the former departments of Commerce and Mines and Petroleum (now the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety).
Consistent with the McGowan’s Government's proposed commitment to reduce red tape, the Bill will replace three Acts: Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994; and Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Safety Levies Act 2011.
The development of the Bill will involve extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community, prior to expected introduction to State Parliament in mid-2019.
Photo: Minister for Mines and Petroleum and Commerce and Industrial Relations William Johnston