Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to provide for the making of occupational health and safety standards, and for related purposes
Administered by: DEWR
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 11 Aug 2005
Introduced HR 11 Aug 2005

2004-2005

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN WORKPLACE SAFETY STANDARDS BILL 2005

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations,

the Honourable Kevin Andrews MP)

 

 

 


AUSTRALIAN WORKPLACE SAFETY STANDARDS BILL 2005

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the declaring of national standards and codes of practice relating to occupational health and safety (OHS) matters by the Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC).  The Bill does not prevent additional functions being conferred on the ASCC administratively.

 

The ASCC will be a body established under the executive power of the Commonwealth to provide policy advice to the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council on national OHS and workers' compensation arrangements in order to achieve national regulatory frameworks.

 

The ASCC will replace the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) established under section 6 of the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission Act 1985 (the NOHSC Act).  NOHSC will be abolished by the repeal of the NOHSC Act effected by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (Repeal, Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2005.

 

National standards and codes of practice declared by the ASCC, like those that have been declared by NOHSC, will be advisory only, requiring separate legislative action by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to implement the standards and codes within their jurisdiction.  

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The proposed measures are budget-neutral.

 

 


NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 – Short title

 

1.1       This is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Act.

 

Clause 2 – Commencement

 

1.2       This clause sets out a table, the effect of which will be that, other than sections 1 and 2 (which will commence on the day on which the Act receives Royal Assent), the remaining sections of the Act will come into operation on a day to be proclaimed.

 

Clause 3 – Definitions

 

1.3       This clause contains a definition for the Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC).  The ASCC will be a body established by the Minister by written instrument to lead and coordinate policy development and strategic directions for occupational health and safety and workers’ compensation.  The ASCC will be an advisory body to represent the interests of governments, employers and employees. 

 

Clause 4 – Function of Australian Safety and Compensation Council

 

1.4       Subclause (1) provides that it is a function of the ASCC to declare national standards and/or codes of practice relating to occupational health and safety matters. 

 

1.5       Subclause (2) confirms that, in addition to the statutory function conferred on the ASCC by this Bill, the ASCC may perform other functions conferred on it by its instrument of establishment.

 

1.6       Subclause (3) makes it clear that the statutory function of declaring national standards and/or codes of practice relating to occupational health and safety matters can only be performed by the ASCC to the extent of the Commonwealth’s legislative power under the Constitution.

 

Clause 5 – Powers of Australian Safety and Compensation Council

 

1.7       Subclause (1) provides the ASCC with the powers necessary to enable it to perform its statutory function under this Bill of declaring OHS standards and/or codes of practice.  Subclause (2) confirms that, in addition to these powers, additional powers may be conferred on the ASCC by its instrument of establishment.

 

Clause 6 – Declaration of national standards and codes of practice

 

1.8       Subclause (1) empowers the ASCC to declare national standards and/or codes of practice relating to occupational health and safety matters.  The ASCC may declare a national standard or a code of practice on a particular subject matter or, if appropriate, both a national standard and a code of practice in relation to a matter.  National standards and/or codes of practice are required to be declared by written instrument.  

 

1.9       Subclause (2) provides that national standards and codes of practice declared by the ASCC under this Bill are advisory in character.  However, this does not preclude the Commonwealth, a State or Territory Government from enacting separate legislation to adopt, and give legal effect to, an advisory standard or code.

 

1.10     Subclause (3) provides that national standards or codes of practice determined by the ASCC are not legislative instruments within the meaning of section 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.  National standards and codes of practice determined by the ASCC are of an advisory nature.  They are given legislative force by relevant State, Territory or Commonwealth legislation, which may incorporate part or all of a national standard or code of practice.

 

1.11     Subclause (4) requires the ASCC to publish the title and objective of any declared national standard or code of practice as well as information about how interested persons can obtain a copy of the national standard or code of practice.  This subclause enables regulations to be made setting out further particulars relating to these publication requirements. 

 

1.12     Subclause (5) requires the ASCC to provide a copy of any declared national standard or code of practice to the Minister.

 

Clause 7 – Steps preparatory to declaring national standards and codes of practice

 

1.13     Subclause (1) requires the ASCC to consult publicly before declaring a national standard or code of practice.  This subclause enables regulations to be made setting out further particulars relating to these consultation requirements.   

 

1.14     Subclause (2) requires the ASCC to have regard to any representations made and authorises the ASCC to alter the proposed national standard or code of practice as a result.  This provision does not require further consultation when a proposed standard or code has been altered in response to representations previously made.

 

Clause 8 – Delegation of powers and functions

 

1.15     Subclause (1) enables the ASCC to delegate its powers or functions to: a member of the ASCC; an SES employee (or acting SES employee) performing duties in the Department; or a committee made of ASCC members and SES (including acting SES) employees.

 

1.16     Subclause (2) provides that the ASCC may specify the procedures to be followed by any committee to which it delegates a Council function or power.

 

1.17     The power of delegation in clause 8 is not limited to the ASCC’s statutory function of declaring national standards and/or codes of practice.  It will also enable the delegation of any non-statutory powers and functions of the ASCC.  

 

Clause 9 – Regulations

 

1.18     This clause enables the Governor-General to make regulations for the purposes of the Bill.  Regulations will be made dealing with publication and consultation requirements associated with declaring national standards and/or codes of practice.