Australian Prime Minister On Workplace Safety Laws
Republished with permission from ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
Business groups have taken out newspaper ads backing Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her fight with the New South Wales government over workplace safety laws.
The advertisement, funded by five different groups, says the business community is appalled by NSW Premier Kristina Keneally's plan to renege on a deal to implement uniform national laws on occupational health and safety. (WCxKit)
Last year all states except Western Australia agreed to implement the laws in a part of a program to reduce the costs for businesses operating in different states.
While the changes are expected to save business $179 million a year, the NSW cabinet decided recently to scrap its commitment, putting at risk $144m in commonwealth incentive payments tied to the reform.
Keneally reportedly wants to retain aspects of NSW OH&S laws that allow unions to initiate negligence prosecutions against employers and start from the assumption that an employer is guilty and must prove his or her innocence.
With Keneally and the Prime Minister at disagreement over the matter for the past several days, the group of businesses — including the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Constructors Association, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Federation of Employers and Industries — has funded advertisements in editions of The Australian and Sydney's The Daily Telegraph.
"We are on the verge of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end frustration for businesses across the country and to allow companies to concentrate on safety outcomes rather than drowning under legal opinion,"' the advertisement says. "Industry is profoundly frustrated by having nine different sets of safety laws and regulations around Australia."
The employers demand NSW recommits to the reforms and also reject Keneally's claim that her state's laws provide the safest workplaces in the nation. (WCxKit)
"Victoria, which was used as the model for the new national laws and which does not have union prosecutions or reverse onus, has between 30 percent and 50 percent better safety outcomes than NSW depending on the measurement used," according to the advertisement.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.comor 860-553-6604.
Disclaimer: WorkersCompensation.com publishes independently generated writings from a variety of workers' compensation industry stakeholders. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WorkersCompensation.com.