The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, chaired the 79th meeting of the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council on 12 February 2009. A key outcome from the meeting was a decision to establish Safe Work Australia as an Executive Agency following the withdrawal of the Safe Work Australia Bill 2008 from the Federal Parliament.
The establishment of Safe Work Australia administratively was considered necessary to ensure the timetable for OHS harmonisation determined by the Council of Australian Governments was not further jeopardised.
Ministers were briefed on the second report of the National Review into Model OHS Laws. The report includes recommendations regarding the scope and coverage of a model OHS Act, workplace consultation, participation and representation, enforcement and compliance and the role of OHS regulatory agencies in providing education, advice and assistance to duty holders.
Ministers agreed further examination of both Review reports was required before any decisions on model OHS laws could be made. The report is available at: www.nationalohsreview.gov.au/ohs/Reports
Ministers also considered issues regarding asbestos management and research. Ministers noted the broad range of actions put in place by governments regarding asbestos and agreed to further targeted work in this area.