An important step in moving towards harmonisation of Australia’s workplace safety laws occurred this week with the issuing of an invitation for written submissions to the National Review into Model Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Laws.
All interested persons are able to contribute to the review by lodging a written submission by 11 July 2008. This provides an opportunity to influence the direction of OHS reform in Australia.
The advisory panel conducting the review has published an issues paper to assist anyone making a written submission.
The review panel chair, Robin Stewart-Crompton, said that the panel is looking forward to the submissions and would appreciate evidence and reasoning to support the proposals that they contain.
“Our recommendations will be designed to improve OHS outcomes and we strongly encourage all who are making written submissions to explain how that might best be achieved in a model OHS law,” said Mr Stewart-Crompton.
“We want to ensure that the legislative OHS framework is effective and responsive to the changing needs and working arrangements in Australian workplaces.
“The panel welcomes comments and proposals on any matters within its terms of reference.
“We suggest that before making a submission, interested persons consider the matters raised in the issues paper but need not address them if they have other concerns.
“The submissions will assist the panel in making well informed recommendations to the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council on the optimal structure and content of a model OHS Act,” said Mr Stewart-Crompton.
In developing the issues paper, the panel undertook preliminary consultation with key stakeholders in all states and territories. Consequently, the issues paper includes many issues that stakeholders see as central to the review.
The goal of harmonising OHS laws has the support of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, including the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers, and Workplace Relations Ministers.
In accordance with the review’s terms of reference, all matters raised in the submissions will be considered on their merits. Unless indicated otherwise, submissions will be made public on the review website.
The issues paper, together with a template for written submissions and details on how to lodge a submission by 11 July 2008, is at www.nationalohsreview.gov.au.