A New South Wales workplace safety advocate is calling on the state government to follow the Australian Capital Territory and introduce an industrial manslaughter offence.
- Workplace safety advocate Kay Catanzariti is calling for the ACT’s industrial manslaughter laws to be introduced in NSW
- The ACT last week passed the new legislation that include jail time and large fines
- The Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson says he is focused on preventing deaths
Following her son Ben’s death on a Canberra construction worksite in 2012, Griffith woman Kay Catanzariti has been pushing for better workers’ rights.
Last week the ACT government passed industrial manslaughter laws. Individuals can now face 20 years’ jail and companies can be fined nearly $17 million.
Ms Catanzariti said NSW needs to do the same.
“I would love a survey to be done to see what the general public believe would be the strong (sic) deterrent in protecting our workers.”
Ms Catanzariti called on NSW Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson to consider tougher laws.
“They need to do something to prevent deaths,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in NSW, ACT; we are all human beings, we are all Australians.
In a statement, Kevin Anderson said the NSW government last year already introduced legislation to make it easier to prove and prosecute workplace behaviour before there was a serious injury or fatality.
“This, coupled with tough new penalties including up to five years in jail for the most serious offences, are a strong incentive for businesses to actively improve workplace safety and prevent deaths and injuries,” he said.
Mr Anderson says his government’s bill is the “strongest workplace regulation in the country”.
He said in the last decade there has been a 25 per cent reduction in work-related fatalities.
Opposition bill to be tabled
In February, NSW Labor gave notice it planned to reintroduce legislation relating to industrial manslaughter, following a failed bid in 2019.
Opposition MLC Adam Searle says the earliest the bill is likely to be discussed is early September.
The government is not on board.
“The main issue I have with the opposition’s attempt to introduce an industrial manslaughter offence is that it operates as a retrospective law, triggered only after the death of a worker,” Mr Anderson said.