WHS Laws - Latest News
South Australia passed the WHS Act on 1 November 2012 and became the seventh jurisdiction to adopt the harmonised WHS laws. This brings SA in line with Queensland, NSW, NT, ACT and the Commonwealth jurisdictions where the new laws have already been implemented. Tasmania will be implementing the new laws on 1 January 2013 as will South Australia.
The South Australian WHS Act closely follows the model laws but does contain some amendments. A summary of the amendments can be accessed here and a copy of the Act can be accessed at SA government’s legislation web page .
The current South Australian Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 will continue to be enforced until 1 January 2013 when it will be replaced by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The WHS Regulations will also commence at the same time as the new Act in South Australia. It is important to note that any significantly new requirements in the regulations will have transitional periods to provide businesses with time to prepare.
What does this mean for the ‘delayed’ states – Western Australia and Victoria?
Western Australia. WA remains committed to the harmonisation process and intends to adopt the model WHS laws but with some amendments to the Act. In October of this year, the Government of Western Australia issued a Consultation Impact Statement and Issues Paper to explore the impact of the WHS model regulations and codes of practice for WA. Ai Group’s response can be accessed here.
Victoria. The Victorian Government has stated publicly that they will not sign up to the current proposal for harmonised legislation for occupational health and safety, although they remain committed to harmonisation. It is hoped that the Government will reconsider its position once the harmonised laws have been reviewed in 2014. Meanwhile the current OHS Act 2004 continues to apply in Victoria.
A document comparing key provisions of the Victorian OHS legislation with the model WHS laws has been compiled by Ai Group. This information demonstrates that some elements of the model WHS laws can be applied now within the current Victorian OHS legal framework.
Let us help
Ai Group has been providing a range of information and educational options to help you prepare for the new laws and we will continue to do so. You can access information, tools and webinars through this website or participate in one of our many seminars or training sessions. Many of our members have already benefited from on-site briefing sessions tailored to their specific needs. We are here to help - give us a call.