Release type: Media Release


Landmark model OHS legislation highlights WA and Victorian Governments' failure


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Leader of the Government in the Senate

Australia is a step closer to nationally harmonised OHS laws that will generate productivity improvements of up to $2 billion a year and deliver safer workplaces for millions of Australians and their families.

“The Gillard Government has pursed workplace health and safety reforms to ensure Australians work in fair and safe workplaces no matter where they live,” Senator Evans said.

The passing of the Work Health and Safety Bill last night delivers on the Gillard Government’s commitment to harmonise laws by 1 January 2012.

“The harmonised OHS laws reduce red tape saving business $250 million and improving safety in Australia’s workplaces,” Senator Evans said.

Harmonised OHS laws have been passed in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Bills are currently before the parliaments of South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

“With less than six weeks to go until the COAG deadline, Victoria and Western Australia have failed to introduce the harmonised laws into their parliaments,” Senator Evans said.

“If the WA and Victorian Governments fail to enact these laws they are putting workers in their respective states in danger and burdening businesses with red tape at a potential cost of hundreds of million dollars.

“Everyone has the right to return home safely to their family after a fair day's work and it is not acceptable that the Victorian and WA Governments are playing politics with workers safety,” Senator Evans said. 

“Businesses and workers will ultimately be the losers if these reforms are not delivered on time. I urge WA and Victoria to honour their side of the bargain and to implement harmonised laws by the agreed deadline of 1 January 2012.”