Rushed workplace laws risk undermining safety

11 October 2017

Statement by Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has grave concerns that rushed changes to workplace health and safety legislation will have the perverse outcome of reducing safety.

The Palaszczuk Government is pushing expanded industrial manslaughter laws through the Parliament, with virtually no scrutiny and no consultation.

The Government had flagged earlier this year that it would be introducing a bill relating to industrial manslaughter, but at the eleventh hour it has added sweeping amendments that also apply to the resources industry.

Other industry organisations such as the Ai Group and Master Builders have also raised concerns about the glaring problems with the proposed addition of industrial manslaughter to health and safety law, even before these extra changes affecting the resources industry were tacked on.

There has been no consultation and no proper parliamentary or industry scrutiny of the impacts and possible unintended consequences of these changes to the resources sector.

The legislation relating to the resources sector is detailed and complex. It’s not as simple as one-size-fits-all.

The resources sector has a robust safety regime and a strong culture of quickly sharing what is learnt from individual cases across the sector. This is done through real time safety updates.

The QRC fears these amendments will reduce health and safety outcomes by targeting individuals rather than organisational error, and create a finger-pointing culture that ends the sharing of safety information from any incident, for fear of prosecution.

The outcome will be more lawyers around a table, instead of the open sharing of safety information.

The safety of workers is the most important priority for every single business in the resources sector. We want to see every worker go home to their family after every shift.

The resources industry wants to work with the Queensland Parliament and all stakeholders to deliver the best safety framework.

Both workers and employers deserve more than an ill-considered and recklessly amended piece of legislation, sprung on the resources industry in the shadow of a looming election.

Media contacts: Kylie Barron 0438 493 114 & Anthony Donaghy 0412 450 360