Whilst WA has always agreed in principle to the national harmonisation of WHS legislation – the process has been less than harmonious.

The target date of January 2012 for implementation seems a distant memory. So why the delay??

A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) was conducted at  a national level. The Western Australian government felt that this did not adequately address the impact of new legislation at a local level.

Marsden Jacobs and Associates were tasked with conducting a state based RIA. This consultation document provides a useful comparison of WA’s current legislation and the proposed model WHS legislation  at a regulation level ( http://www.marsdenjacob.com.au/cms/images/stories/MJA/whs-information-issues-paper.pdf )

The resulting Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) was produced in December 2012 for consideration by WorkSafe WA and the Minister for Commerce. (http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/final_report-ris.pdf ). This RIS was based on the model legislation developed by Safe Work Australia.

On 12th August 2014, the Minister for Commerce in WA made a statement to parliament suggesting that the model legislation may be less than suitable for small and regional business’ in WA. He recommended developing a WA version of WHS legislation that would more accurately reflect our local conditions.( http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/ministerial_statement_12-08-2014.pdf )

On 23rd October 2014 the WHS (Green) Bill 2014 was tabled in parliament and opened for public consultation. ( http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/work_health_and_safety_bill_2014.pdf  ) This public consultation period closes on 30th January 2015.

It is expected that the Minister will make a final decision regarding legislative changes by consideration of this public consultation and a COAG (Council of Australian Governments) review of their implementation of WHS legislation, due on 31st December 2014.

This will coincide with the requirement for the Minister, under section 61 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, to conduct a 5 yearly review of the Act