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4 May 11
Work Health and Safety Bill before NSW parliament tomorrow - tipped to be a major change in Jurisdiction

We have become aware late this afternoon (4 May 2011) that the NSW Coalition Government have put a motion before parliament in the last couple of hours indicating that the new Work Health & Safety Bill (based upon the model legislation) will be placed before parliament for consideration tomorrow.

The headline news is that there will be a change of jurisdiction away from the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSWIRC) and jurisdiction will be given to the Supreme Court of NSW as a criminal jurisdiction. This is a watershed for NSW following heavy criticisms of the NSWIRC by the High Court in Kirk’s Case and heavy lobbying by employers and safety lawyers for many years in regard to this issue. Finally NSW employers and their officers may have the benefit of full criminal law procedures that have arguably been denied them.

Other key issues for NSW we understand to be included in the Bill are the adoption of the new duty proposed by the model legislation, removal of the power of unions to prosecute and no reverse onus defence provisions.

We will provide further comment tomorrow once the Bill is tabled and available for review.

If you have queries please contact Jeremy Kennedy, Partner on 02 4924 8909 or jkennedy@mccullough.com.au.

This Alert covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. This Alert is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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