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OHS: Harmonized to what?

Sunday, February 01, 2015

You might recall the process to ‘harmonize’ Australia’s work safety laws that unfolded between about 2010 and 2012. ICA campaigned on the issue closely, opposing the harmonized model that was being pushed. The outcome has been bit of a hotch-potch, with WA and Victoria staying out of the process and SA significantly changing the laws.

We don’t oppose harmonization, but the bigger question has to be: harmonization to what? The harmonized laws are inferior to the OHS laws they have replaced (except in NSW).

The issue is now re-appearing. WA has put forward a draft ‘harmonized’ OHS Bill for comment. The Bill already displays important differences from the standard ‘harmonized’ OHS laws. ICA has made a submission indicating further important changes that should be made, if WA proceeds with the Bill.

For example, you may not be aware that OHS law is a division of criminal law. But the ‘harmonized’ laws take away your right to silence, an important protection against inappropriate behaviour by investigating and prosecuting authorities. We explain this in our submission.


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