For some time now, NECA has been actively lobbying against the State Government’s draft Industrial Manslaughter legislation.
Our lobbying has involved meetings with the relevant Minister, Bill Johnston and members of the Liberal Opposition.
It is vital that all contractors familiarise themselves with this legislation because it will criminalise workplace accidents. The Government’s proposed industrial manslaughter law exposes business owners to up to 10 years in jail and a $2.5 million fine if an accident occurs on your worksite – even if you haven’t been reckless or negligent.
Whilst the government has indicated that it intends to continue with the legislation, the opposition will not be supporting it.
This is a promising development as the McGowan Government does not control the Upper House and cannot pass any legislation without the support of either the Liberal Party or the crossbenchers.
The Government has however, agreed to include legal defences that protect contractors whose safety practices meet their legislative requirements.
In its current form, the legislation puts contractors in the ridiculous situation where a business owner has implemented safety practices that ensure compliance with all of their WHS obligations and yet can still be subjected to prosecution, so these legal defences that NECA WA has fought for are essential to protect contractors who provide a safe workplace.
In addition to its own lobbying activities, NECA has also lobbied the McGowan Government, the Liberal Opposition and crossbench members of Parliament, as part of a coalition of more than twenty other industry associations who also oppose this legislation.
The Government is now in negotiations with the Opposition and crossbenchers and will reintroduce the legislation to Parliament for debate in September - so we await to see what changes will be made.