Independent review into work health and safety oversight

Released 24/05/2018

Joint media release: Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA and Gordon Ramsay MLA

The ACT Government is committed to ensuring the health and safety of Canberra’s workers is protected and improved. Recognising that best practice in work health and safety is constantly evolving, the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Rachel Stephen-Smith and Minister for Regulatory Services, Gordon Ramsay today announced a review of the ACT’s compliance infrastructure, policies and procedures.

The review will evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the ACT Government’s current work health and safety compliance and enforcement strategies to ensure they are delivering for Canberra’s workers.

It will be undertaken having regard to the objects of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, including the principle that workers and other people should be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work.

In this context, the review will specifically consider:

  • the approach to safety compliance and enforcement detailed in WorkSafe ACT’s Compliance Framework;
  • the appropriateness and effectiveness of WorkSafe ACT’s governance structure, including the roles, legislative responsibilities and functions of the Work Safety
  • Commissioner, the Regulator and relevant Ministers;
  • the appropriateness and effectiveness of WorkSafe ACT’s organisational structure, including consideration of its independence and operational effectiveness in its
  • current status as a business unit within Access Canberra; and
  • the ACT’s collection, use and analysis of data and the impact and effectiveness of information sharing within Access Canberra and across government to drive work safety compliance and enforcement activities.

Dr Claire Noone of Nous Group will lead the review, and will report to Ministers in September 2018. Dr Noone brings significant expertise to this work, having recently chaired Victoria’s Independent Review of Worksafe Compliance and Enforcement.

Quotes attributable to Minister Stephen-Smith:

“We know there is more to do to ensure that all workers in the ACT are in safe and healthy workplaces, and that the government has an important role to play alongside employers, workers and unions.”

“This will be the first broad review of the ACT’s work health and safety compliance and enforcement arrangements since the adoption of national model work health and safety legislation in 2011.

“It will take account of existing sector-specific work and other analysis, including the 2012 Getting Home Safely review of construction industry safety, RMIT University’s 2017 stocktake of the industry’s health and safety culture, and subsequent work by the Work Safety Council to develop a construction industry safety strategy.

Quotes attributable to Minister Ramsay:

“The safety of workers and ensuring they get home safely each day is an ongoing priority for the ACT Government. We are committed to continual improvement to ensure the highest possible standards.

“Stakeholder input will be critical to understanding the experiences of all players in the current system. We encourage workers, businesses, unions and employer representatives to engage in the review process.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

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