Media Release

6 May 2021

NSW Labor has put major workplace safety reforms before the NSW Parliament, outlining legislation to create a new industrial manslaughter offence with higher penalties including jail time.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Adam Searle yesterday gave the second reading of the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Industrial Manslaughter) Bill 2021 in the Legislative Council.

Mr Searle said rogue companies must be held accountable for workplace deaths.

“Everyone who goes to work deserves to come home safely. That is why governments need to ensure the very highest standards of workplace safety are properly upheld. Sadly, the Liberal National Government has dropped the ball on this.” — Adam Searle MLC, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations

“It is clear the current laws are failing and a major overhaul of safety standards is needed, as well as increased enforcement of those standards.”

The tragic death of Christopher Cassiniti illustrates the need for this new law. Christopher Cassaniti was crushed to death in a workplace accident in Sydney’s north-west in April 2019.

The judge hearing the case in December 2020 said the offence was of the ‘utmost severity’, and given the circumstances ‘almost certain to occur’. He added that the steps to avoid the risk were ‘simple and inexpensive’.

“The tragic case of Christopher Cassiniti is just one example of what is wrong with the current laws and their enforcement.

NSW Labor had put forward changes to the State’s workplace safety laws in December 2019 following a spate of workplace fatalities, but the proposal was defeated in a close 19-18 vote in the Legislative Council in June 2020.