Update on harmonisation – The legal framework.

Harmonisation, or a streamlining and revamping of health and safety legislation in Australia, has been talked about for around 10 years. It has long since been implemented in all states, excluding Victoria and Western Australia.

The change of state government and subsequent re-structuring of government departments has brought the harmonisation of WHS legislation back to the fore.

I recently attending a briefing by DMIRS (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety) on the proposed changes. These differ from those regulatory changes that were proposed by the previous state government.

In this blog we will look briefly at what the proposed legal framework will look like.
Firstly, what does our current framework for the management of health and safety look like:

We can see that each of the following industries; general workplaces, mining and onshore or coastal petroleum, have their own Act(s) and Regulation(s).

Harmonisation in other states of Australia has resulted in a streamlining of legislation into one Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations for all industries and sectors.

Western Australia’s previous government had proposed to retain a separate Act and Regulations for general workplaces and for mining.

The current government is proposing to introduce one WHS Act for all industries supported by separate Regulations for the three industry sectors; general workplaces, mining and petroleum, as per the diagram below: