Master Builders Victoria, along with Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Victorian Farmers Federation, Housing Industry Association and Australian Industry Group delivered the following media statement today:
We strongly support the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition commitment to moving a series of amendments to the Workplace Manslaughter Bill when it returns to the Victorian Parliament today. These amendments address key concerns raised by employers with the bill:
- Employees should be included in the offence
- Maintain existing protections against self-incrimination
- Qualify the direct attribution of the criminally negligent conduct of employees to a body corporate
- Exclude circumstances where a family member could be prosecuted in relation to the workplace death of a relative.
We consider that, without these changes, the legislation will not achieve the best outcomes for safety, investment and jobs.
The Coalition is also seeking an important clarification that the offence will apply to senior officers of the crown such as Ministers and Departmental Secretaries.
With such significant penalties it is vital that the Government gets this law right.
The new law must have safety as its number one objective and be workable, proportionate, fair, support continuing collaboration on workplace safety and avoid unintended outcomes. Without amendments the bill fails to satisfy these objectives.
Victorian employers and employees have a shared responsibility for safety by working together. This collaborative approach is working with Victoria’s workplace injury rate remaining at a near record low. In its current form the bill risks jeopardising this successful model and fundamentally dividing workplaces.
Employers are working with the Government, Opposition and cross bench to ensure that these laws are fair and equitable and deliver improved workplace safety outcomes.