WA to go it alone on WHS Laws

WAWill Western Australia ever follow the other states and join in a harmonised set of WHS laws? It seems not.

The WA Government is widely expected to announce that it will not nationalise its laws in line with the work health and safety nationalisation process already adopted by most other Australian states.

Western Australia will, however, update its current safety legislation to include many of the components of the nationalised laws such as expanding the types of entities on which duties are imposed (where those duties are owed by the corporate body and personally by officers), statutory positions, risk management and safety systems requirements.

The timing for progressing any updated legislation through the Western Australian Parliament has not been decided by the relevant ministers, but it is not likely to occur until next year. It is anticipated that priority will be given to updating environmental laws due to the significant economic impact those laws are having on businesses in Western Australia.

This proposal will allow Western Australia to pick and choose those parts of the nationalised legislation it is anticipated will improve safety in the state, while avoiding the need to adopt those parts of the legislation that may bring less benefit to business in Western Australia…

While there is a continuing delay in the implementation of the model work health and safety (WHS) laws in Victoria and Western Australia, New Zealand has announced that it will adopt the model WHS laws.

South Australia and Tasmania enacted the WHS Act and WHS Regulations in their jurisdictions on 1 January 2013 joining the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory.

WA has completed drafting its Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill for general industry. Introduction into Parliament is expected in 2013 but this will depend on progress with regard to finalising the drafting of the corresponding Bill for the mining industry.

The Victorian Government has confirmed that while they support the principle of national harmonisation, Victoria will not adopt the national model workplace health and safety laws in their current form.

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