New legislation 2012 - WorkCover NSW

Source: WorkCover NSW

National initiative, NSW focus

On 4 May 2011, the NSW Government introduced a Bill to enact the national model work health and safety legislation. The Bill was passed by the NSW Parliament on 1 June 2011.

There are currently nine different work health and safety (WHS) laws across Australia. All states and territories have committed to working towards uniform safety standards across Australia.

The new work health and safety laws will:

  • reduce compliance costs and red tape for employers
  • maintain NSW's strong work, health and safety framework
  • keep businesses accountable
  • make laws easier to understand while protecting workers.
More information

More details on the changes are available from the:

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Safe Work Australia updates

On 10 August 2011, the Workplace Relations Ministers' Council endorsed the National Compliance and Enforcement Policy, which was developed by Safe Work Australia in consultation with the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities. Under the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational reform in Occupational Health and Safety, all jurisdictions made a commitment that harmonised WHS laws would be complemented by a nationally consistent approach to compliance policy and enforcement policy. The National Compliance and Enforcement Policy gives effect to this commitment.

The National Policy sets out the approach work health and safety regulators will take to compliance and enforcement under the model WHS Act and regulations.

WorkCover is committed to adopting the National Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

The new WHS laws will be effective from 1 January 2012.

Interim Bill

An interim Bill was introduced to the NSW Parliament to amend the current Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000(Act) to mirror some key parts the national model laws in the lead up to the 1 January 2012 implementation. The Bill was passed on 1 June 2011 and will offer more clarity and help prepare everyone for the changes.

The key amendments will remove the:

  • 'reverse onus of proof' for employers by qualifying their primary duty of care by what is reasonably practicable (rather than them having to prove that compliance was not reasonably practicable)
  • deeming of liability for directors and managers of corporations for a breach of the Act. Officers must demonstrate they have exercised all due diligence but will now only be liable for their own acts or omissions.