The Work Health and Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (ACT) (the "Bill") was introduced into the Australian Capital Territory’s Legislative Assembly on 30 November 2017. This Bill is the proposed next step in the ACT’s implementation of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) (the "national model regulation").
In July 2008, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in OHS (IGA). The overall goal of the IGA was to “formalise cooperation between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments on the harmonisation of OHS legislation and to establish appropriate governance arrangements to support this cooperation.” (at 1.1, COAG, 3 July 2008).
“The fundamental objective of the reform covered by this Agreement is to produce the optimal model for a national approach to OHS regulation and operation which will:
In giving effect to the IGA, the ACT enacted the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) (the "WHS Act"), and the supporting Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the "WHS Regulations"). The regulations, while comprehensive, did not provide for chapter 7 (Hazardous Chemicals), chapter 8 (Asbestos) or chapter 9 (Major Hazard Facilities) of the national model regulation. Chapter 8 was introduced into the ACT’s work health and safety framework on 1 January 2015.
The purpose of the Work Health and Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 is to incorporate chapters 7 and 9 of the national model regulation into the ACT’s current legislative framework. The Bill proposes to do this by amending the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, as well as making other consequential amendments (see Schedule 1).
Part 2 of the Bill handles the amendments to the Dangerous Substances Act. Importantly, the Bill substitutes the definition of “dangerous substance” in section 10 of the Dangerous Substances Act. The proposed definition presented by the Bill is:
"(1) In this Act: dangerous substance means a substance that is—
(2) The Minister may declare a substance to be a dangerous substance."
Part 3 of the Bill purports to amend the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Importantly, the Bill inserts a new section 12AA into the WHS Act which states: “Schedule 1 provides for the application of this Act to dangerous goods and high risk plant.”
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Work Health and Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (ACT) and Explanatory Speech available from Timebase's LawOne service.
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) available from Timebase's LawOne service.
Dangerous Substances Act 2004 (Cth) available from Timebase's LawOne service.
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (ACT) available from Timebase's LawOne service.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) available from Timebase's LawOne service.
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