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Queensland takes a different route


So on the one hand, we have South Australia and Tasmania adopting the harmonised legislation in January 2013 and on the other hand Queensland is considering changes that will drastically alter the their WHS laws. Personally, I'd like to put all the States and Territories in a room and say you can't come out until you all agree!!

A roundtable was attended by various industry groups, including the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Civil Contractors Federation, Queensland Farmers Federation, Queensland Law Society, Timber Queensland, National Retailers Association, the Australian Industry Group, Australian Workers’ Union and Master Builders Queensland.

The roundtable recommended that a number of second stage model codes of practice, especially the ones related to construction, not be adopted in Queensland. Participants also called for a special work group to look into the adoption of codes of practice for bullying and fatigue.

 Right of entry powers was also raised as an issue, as a result of which the possibility of removing the powers is being considered.


Other outcomes of the roundtable include:

  • development of guidance on the meaning of “reasonable practicable” and how control relates to the assessment of whether something was reasonable practicable
  • establishment of a special working group to examine asbestos provisions
  • clarification of the costs and impacts of audiometric testing
Implementing the proposed changes would make Queensland’s WHS laws significantly different to the model work health and safety legislation. As it is now, Queensland's WHS legislation is already different to the model legislation. 

Other participating jurisdictions may also follow in Queensland’s steps if the proposed changes are accepted, further undermining the goal of “harmonisation”.


A number of the issues raised are subject to compliance from 1 January 2013. It is proposed to delay the commencement of these regulations until 1 January 2014 to provide certainty for industry while the work from the industry roundtable review is completed.


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