11 Nov Harmonised OHS Legislation
TTIA along with TABMA (Timber and Building Merchants Association) has sent an open letter to the NSW Premier in support of the harmonised OHS legislation throughout Australia. Below is a copy of the letter.
“HARMONISED OH&S LEGISLATION THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA
The Timber Trade Industrial Association (TTIA) and Timber and Building Merchants Association (TABMA) are the two principal national employer Associations representing timber and timber products companies throughout Australia in the area of Occupational Health and Safety.
To date, the management of OH&S in each State of Australia is fraught with difficulty for businesses due to the complex and differing OH&S legislation throughout the country. With the introduction of harmonised OH&S legislation to be adopted by each state, there appears to be a unique opportunity for a simpler and fairer OH&S regime which should improve the safety of workplaces throughout the country.
TTIA and TABMA have now been made aware through recent media statements, that the NSW government may not honour its commitment to adopt the national OH&S agreement in its entirety, planning to give Unions power to act as prosecutors and to reverse the normal onus of proof, which is “innocent until proven guilty.”
TTIA, TABMA and its member companies, which number over 800, strongly object to the government’s plans to backtrack the harmonised legislation, believing that going down this path will disrupt the legislative process and will lead to a nationally inconsistent OH&S regime.
TTIA, TABMA and its members also believe that OH&S prosecutions should not be carried out by the Unions who have a vested interest in the outcome, but should be carried out by an independent body. The harmonised OH&S legislation would allow this independent body to use the onus of proof as adopted by criminal law which enables the defendant to be considered innocent until proven otherwise. The Harmonised OH&S legislation would also provide the defendant appropriate right of appeal in the Courts.
With the introduction of their new CEO, WorkCover NSW is focussing on more productive and safer workplaces throughout NSW. If the NSW government do backtrack the harmonised legislation, TTIA & TABMA believe that it will have a dramatic impact on the productivity of NSW businesses, making it very difficult for them to compete with businesses in other States of Australia. NSW risks losing investment and vital jobs if national OH&S legislation is not adopted in this State.
TTIA, TABMA and timber companies across Australia ask the NSW government to act on this submission and to accept the harmonised OH&S legislation in its entirety. Let us build a productive and safer Timber Industry throughout Australia and commit to this long-overdue reform.
Brian Beecroft, Chief Executive Officer, Timber Trade Industrial Association, PO Box 236, Darlinghurst, NSW 1300. Tel: (02) 9264 0011
Colin Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive Officer, Timber and Building Materials Association, PO Box 518, St Leonards, NSW 1590. Tel: (02) 9277 3100
29 October 2010