5 June 2020
Laws which would have created an industrial manslaughter offence with higher penalties including jail time, have been blocked in NSW Parliament by the Liberals and Nationals.
Labor proposed the changes to the State’s workplace safety laws following a spate of tragic workplace fatalities and injuries in NSW, including the death of 18-year-old apprentice Christopher Cassaniti in April last year.
“This setback won’t stop Labor. We will keep fighting to keep people on worksites safe and continue hold employers accountable when their negligence leads to a worker’s death” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
“Right now in Sydney, many of the buildings being constructed are unsafe. Workers’ lives are at risk – but Gladys Berejiklian is doing absolutely nothing about it.”
The proposed laws were defeated in a close 19-18 vote in the Legislative Council, after the Liberals and Nationals were joined by the Shooters Farmers and Fishers, One Nation and Christian Democrats.
“In 2019, 168 workers were fatally injured, up from 144 in 2018. That’s the highest number of workplace fatalities in Australia,” Mr Searle said.
“One death on a worksite is one death too many. Every worker should come home safely. It’s disappointing that the Liberals and Nationals blocked this important law” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
Creating a new industrial manslaughter offence aims to not only make workplaces safer but also hold rogue companies to account for workplace deaths. Labor’s policy includes the re-establishment of an Industrial Court in NSW where workplace safety laws would be enforced.