After all the panic and stress late last year, the harmonisation deadline seems to have come and gone much like Y2K. I don’t have much interest in legislation, in fact, even a healthy disdain for it but here is a quick harmonisation update by State from SJ at the Safety Toolshed
We need calm-onisation with harmonisation
Posted on February 20, 2012 by The Safety Nerd
What has happened to harmonisation? There was so much ‘hoo ha’ in 2011 that OHS as we know it was coming to an end and in walks this new and improved WHS. Hold up, did I miss something here? Isn’t harmonisation supposed to be about harmonising all the states laws to make it easier to comply, save the economy loads of money and end of the day reduce injuries? From what I’ve heard speaking to owners of businesses, it has just made it all the more confusing which was exactly what we were supposed to get away from.
In the beginning….when god created harmonisation…..the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments committed to the harmonisation of OHS laws. An “Adam and Eve” model was made called the model WHS Act and Reg, with the intention that all jurisdictions would mirror this. Who were we kidding, we are dealing with politicians here, promising to cross their hearts and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. Each jurisdiction wanted their hands in the pie making minor but oh so necessary variations, some rolling it out as promised when the clock struck midnight 31st December 2011, others have said, ‘wait….it’s taken a lot longer than we anticipated to get it together and really we have just left it to the last minute so we need more time’.
So, enough of my bleating…where are we really up to with these harmonised laws? Well currently our position is this:
The Commonwealth rolled out the Act, Reg and codes of practice on time, as did NSW.
QLD also commenced when the clock struck midnight, but are amending their own codes of practice to be consistent with the new Act and Reg.
ACT are also up to date except they haven’t adopted 100% of the codes.
NT are also up to date, but are keeping their mining Codes until 1st March 2012
SA although they were first to start organising themselves with the Act it was withdrawn from the SA parliament for procedural reasons and have tabled a debate this year with a view of commencing the laws 1st Jan 2013.
VIC looks like they will enact the legislation but they want to assess the impacts and benefits to Victoria first and have said they need another 12 months to make this assessment.
TAS are not going ahead until 1st Jan 2013
WA are not adopting all of the Act because they oppose four areas:
- the changes to the penalties as they view them as being excessively punitive
- the union right of entry will not be introduced because it already exists under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA)
- Directions from Health and Safety Reps to stop work when it’s unsafe will be opposed because WA believes workers shouldn’t have to wait for a HSR to stop work
- Reverse onus of proof for prosecutions of discrimination, coercive or misleading conduct is opposed.
So there we have it, onward and upward I say!
The Safety Nerd x