Media Release

1 July 2018

A NSW Labor government will put in place specific laws to address the consequences of workplace death.

New laws would provide heavy penalties for corporations where workplace death result from breaches of work safety obligations, NSW Labor’s annual conference was told.

It would also provide for significant jail penalties, in appropriate cases were individuals are found to be morally culpable for a death.

Importantly the new law would be carefully drafted to ensure individual workers were not made scapegoats for corporate failures.

The first year of the Coalition Government saw overall deaths attributable to the workplace increase by 4.3 per cent and over its first two years in office the deaths occurring in the workplace increased – by 7.8 per cent in 2011-12 and 5.45 per cent in 2012-13.

After a decrease the following year, the toll again continued to climb over the following two years – by 16.42 per cent in 2014-15 and 15.38 per cent in 2015-16.

Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Adam Searle MLC:

“A clear message needs to be sent that there are still too many deaths in our workplaces and more needs to be done to prevent them.

“A NSW Labor Government  will significantly increase work safety law compliance and enforcement.

“A key part of this will be a new law to properly address the issue of workplace death where it occurs as a result of breaches of work safety obligations.

“We will consult with unions, employers and the community about the best model and the level of penalties, including length of jail terms, bearing in mind that manslaughter has a maximum penalty of 25 years jail.”

“There will be appropriately harsh penalties for both corporations and individuals where that is warranted.

“Only a Labor Government elected in March 2019 will make eliminating workplaces death a real priority.”