Why are the model WHS laws being reviewed?

WHS ministers asked Safe Work Australia to conduct a review of the content and operation of the model WHS laws.

This review is part of the original plan to review the model WHS laws regularly to ensure they continue operating effectively.

What is the scope of the review?

The review will examine whether the model WHS laws are achieving the objects stated in the model WHS Act or if they have resulted in unintended consequences.

The review will focus on specific concepts that were new or significantly different for most jurisdictions when the model WHS laws were implemented. These include the duties framework, penalty and enforcement measures, and consultation, representation and issue resolution.

More information is available in the Terms of Reference and the Discussion Paper.

How will the review be conducted?

Safe Work Australia has engaged an independent expert, Marie Boland, to lead the review. Marie brings a wealth of experience in WHS policy and regulation, and played a key role in the implementation of the model WHS laws in South Australia.

The review includes a consultation period to capture evidence and views from the public on how the model WHS laws are working in practice.

Consultation will include the release of a discussion paper and a call for written submissions over an eight-week period from Monday, 19 February 2018 to Friday, 13 April 2018.

Online and face-to-face consultation will also be held during this period.

Marie will provide her report to Safe Work Australia before the end of 2018. The report may propose actions or identify areas of the model WHS laws that require further analysis.

Will the outcomes be made public?

The review report will be provided to WHS ministers in early 2019. WHS ministers will decide when the report will be made public.

Who do we want to hear from?

We would like to hear from everyone – it doesn’t matter what role you are in, your industry or business size. Work health and safety impacts all Australian workplaces.

How can I participate?

There are various ways you can provide feedback through the Engage platform, including contributing to discussion forums or providing a written submission in response to the discussion paper.

Marie will also travel to capital cities and selected regional areas to conduct one-on-one meetings and consultation forums during this time.

Can I make a handwritten or confidential submission?

Safe Work Australia’s preference is for all submissions to be submitted through, and published on, the Engage consultation page.

If this does not suit you, please contact the Review Secretariat using 2018Review@swa.gov.au to discuss an alternative.

How will the review affect the WHS laws in each state and territory?

The review may identify areas of the model WHS laws that require further analysis or amendment.

It will still be up to the Commonwealth, states and territories to implement and regulate the WHS laws within their jurisdiction.

Some jurisdictions have already reviewed their WHS laws, or are in the process of doing so. Marie’s report will consider relevant outcomes of these processes.