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Industrial manslaughter legislation must be fair

"The Victorian Government should proceed carefully with its new Industrial Manslaughter legislation and recognise the value of improvements which have been proposed to the legislation. The current Bill as it stands appears to be neither fair nor workable and any unintended consequences will be very difficult to wind back," Tim Piper, Victorian Head of the Australian Industry Group, said today.

"While the Government proposed the broad direction of this policy before the last election, we are concerned about a number of factors in the details of the legislation which, even from the most objective position, make parts of it unreasonable and most concerning.

"While we remain of the strong view that Industrial Manslaughter legislation is unnecessary, we support the amendments proposed by the Opposition to make sure the laws are not unfair.

"As this is criminal legislation, which imposes imprisonment of up to 20 years, people must be able to take a position which does not self-incriminate. What is currently expected is an anathema to criminal legislation.

"Employees who breach what are the reasonable OH&S processes of a business, should not be able to implicate their employers. “With mental health becoming such an issue, the idea of employers being held criminally responsible for a person’s suicide, risks being unreasonable and unfair.

"We are willing to work with the Government, Opposition and cross-benchers to help prevent unintended and unwelcome consequences. We encourage the Government to consider supporting amendments that would make the legislation fairer, more equitable and more workable," Mr Piper said.

Media enquiries: Tim Piper – 0411 430 301