Another step towards a new WA WHS bill….
Yesterday, the McGowan Government gave the green light to develop a modernised Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill for Western Australia.
According to Bill Johnston, Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Commerce and Industrial Relations, “occupational, health and safety legislation in WA is 30 years old and is out of date”.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 WA Bill will be based on the national Work Health and Safety Act. It is intended that this Bill will improve consistency with the rest of Australia and provide the primary legislation for workplace safety and health across all Western Australian industries.
Consistent with the McGowan Government’s 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 new WA 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.
Petroleum and major hazard facility industries will continue to operate under a safety case approach.
The State Government’s contemporary, 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).
The Bill is expected to be introduced to WA State Parliament in mid-2019. Extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community is expected during the development of the new WA WHS Bill.
Model WHS laws
WHS regulators in the Commonwealth and in each state and territory are responsible for regulating and enforcing the laws in their jurisdictions. In WA this is WorkSafe WA.
The model WHS laws have been implemented in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Commonwealth. Some jurisdictions have made minor variations to make sure the legislation is consistent with their relevant drafting protocols and other laws and processes.