NSW business disappointed at delay to OHS Act

Thursday, 26 October, 2006

The NSW government has announced plans to send the state's draft Occupational Health and Safety Act for a further six-month review despite expressions of disappointment by Australian business and industry groups.

According to Minister for Commerce, John Della Bosca, the review is necessary as employers and unions have been unable to agree on central aspects of the draft legislation which was first released for consultation in May.

"We must be certain that any changes we make strengthen that record, while reducing red tape, upholding safety standards and maintaining a culture of workplace cooperation which has been a key to our success," he said.

Following the announcement, the ABL State Chamber immediately expressed its disappointment that the OHS reforms would be delayed until after the next state election.

"When the draft Bill was released early in 2006 it met with acclaim. Now it seems it has been put in the too-hard basket until after the election," ABL State Chamber CEO, Kevin MacDonald said.

"This decision is a blow to every business in NSW. Business did not believe the government would cave in on its own legislation, but it has and everyone in NSW loses out."

Business groups originally applauded the draft legislation as it removed some of the "red tape' employers had to deal with. The bill also had the support of the Opposition.

Della Bosca has asked the Honourable Paul Stein QC to examine the existing legislation and proposed changes and pay particular attention to areas in which no consensus has emerged.

Wendy Cramer, Editor

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