Master Builders Victoria has major misgivings about what it describes as the alarmingly ‘one-sided’ Workplace Manslaughter legislation recently introduced into the Victorian Parliament.
Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson says she spent the week consulting with members, listening to and understanding their concerns about the legislation and the process to date.
“Our members care deeply for the people they work with and they are concerned that the legislation has the potential to create divided and unfair worksites across Victoria,” Ms Casson says.
“Master Builders Victoria dedicated significant time and resources to participate in the Government’s Workplace Manslaughter Implementation Taskforce and provided a detailed submission on areas that we believed were important to achieve the best safety outcomes for Victorian workplaces.”
“We participated in good faith and it is extremely disappointing that the voice of our members has apparently been ignored.”
“Our members are committed to providing safe worksites, but a safe worksite can only be delivered when everybody contributes. Workplace safety is everyone's responsibility. Everybody. Every workplace. Every day.”
Ms Casson says the new legislation will detrimentally change the way a worksite operates in shifting the full responsibility of safety to the employer.
“Quite frankly, it just doesn’t make sense when builders can be punished for something they didn’t do,” she says.
“Creating a worksite where one person can face a criminal charge one step from murder for the criminally negligent actions of others won’t deliver a safer worksite.”
Ms Casson warns that if the legislation passes in its current form, it could damage worksite culture, create another cost for Victoria’s small and family business owners and have a devastating effect on their mental health.
“Builders across Victoria will rightly question whether it is worth the risk of hiring trades and labour for jobs when they can meet all of their responsibilities and yet still be punished for someone else’s actions. It is nonsensical.”
“Everyone is equal before the law and this legislation needs significant amendments to reflect that. In the hope of a logical and rational review of the Bill as it currently stands, we will continue to work with all parties interested to try and ensure that the legislation achieves the intended objective of creating safer workplaces. In its current form, it risks negatively impacting safety outcomes,” says Ms Casson.