At least four more Australian states are considering following Queensland’s lead and introducing some form of industrial manslaughter law. 2017 saw Queensland introduce the controversial charge, which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years for individuals, and a fine of up to $10 million for corporate offenders (see related article).
And now, the Tasmanian Labor Party has said it will review Queensland’s industrial manslaughter laws and introduce similar provisions within a year if it wins the upcoming State election on March 3. In their Jobs and Employment Policy, the party outlines plans to undertake a full review of Tasmania’s WHS and industrial relations Acts.
“Labor will review legislation recently introduced in Queensland and conduct detailed consultation with industry and unions to inform the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws within our first year”
“The vast majority of employers do everything they possibly can to keep their workers safe. However, industrial manslaughter laws send a strong message that companies and senior officers working with them are expected to do everything in their power to keep workers safe.”
The policy claims that industrial manslaughter laws are designed to have a positive effect on safety standards and will increase “proactive work health and safety management.”
But despite a push by Queensland to have its industrial manslaughter laws adopted nationally, it seems other states are making moves on their own.
In South Australia, the state Labor government promised in January that it would introduce harsher penalties for causing an industrial death, if it is reelected in their upcoming election on March 17.
In Western Australia, the laws would represent the fulfilment of an election promise. The Labor government promised to introduce 20-year jail terms for work-related reckless or gross negligent conduct, prior to winning government in March 2017.
And in Victoria, the Trades Hall Council, a representative body of trade union organisations, said it is embarking on a campaign to pressure the state Labor government to bring Victoria in line with other states.