Law Council Pleased With Release Of Balanced Oh&s Reforms

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30th September 2009, 01:06pm - Views: 1069

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19 Torrens St Braddon

ACT 1612 || GPO Box 1989

Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone +61 2 6246 3788

Facsimilie +61 2 6248 0639


30 September 2009

Law Council Pleased With



Balanced OH&S Reforms

The Law Council has welcomed the release of the new model Occupational

Health and Safety (OH&S) laws, which it says are balanced and adhere to the

fundamental principles of the criminal justice system. 

The models laws were released this week by the Workplace Relations

Ministers’ Council.

Law Council President John Corcoran said, “The model laws strike the correct

balance and adhere to fundamental criminal law principles. Governments

must set aside jurisdictional differences and enact a uniform model OH&S


Mr Corcoran said a uniform national OH&S system was in the best interests

of both employers and workers and should be implemented as soon as


Currently there are nine different OH&S systems in place across all Australian

jurisdictions.  Those laws differ in many fundamental respects, including in

relation to definitions, penalties, procedures and powers and responsibilities

of employers and employees’ representatives.

“Despite the substantial differences in OH&S legislation across Australia,

there is little evidence to suggest that the imposition of harsher penalties and

evidentiary burdens in some jurisdictions has improved workplace safety

performance. Nor has it been improved by the extension of prosecution

powers to unions or other organisations,” Mr Corcoran said.   

“There are undeniable benefits, both to workers and employers, in a uniform

national OH&S system, but there is no evidence that workers in any

jurisdiction will be worse off if a model law is adopted uniformly,” he said. 

“The Law Council urges all governments to commit to the implementation of a

national OH&S system.”

“We will be providing a detailed response to the model laws and regulations


look forward to contributing further to this important debate which is of

great concern to Australian workers,” Mr Corcoran concluded.  

Media Contact:

Elenore Eriksson, Director Public Affairs 

P. 02 6246 3716 || M. 0419 269 855

The Law Council of Australia exists to represent the legal profession

at the national level, to speak on behalf of its constituent bodies on

national issues, and to promote the administration of justice, access

to justice and general improvement of the law.

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