The Federal Government’s new occupational health and safety laws could actually reduce protection for workers and harm them in the long term, the ACTU warns.
The states and territories, except Western Australia, agreed to a model occupational health and safety regime at the Workplace Relations Ministerial Council in Melbourne on Friday.
Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard said this is good news for business, but ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said the reform package will water down strong state-specific protections, such as those provided for in NSW.
“I would have thought that a combination of a Federal Labor Government and State Labor Governments would have had an objective of improvement of workers health and safety,” he told ABC Radio.
Gillard fired back, refusing to back down from the new policy.
“Safe Work Australia can of course deal with technical issues, but the policy decisions have all been made,” she said.