Today on International Workers’ Memorial Day the Greens are once again calling on the Parliament to support their proposed Industrial Manslaughter laws, which will come to a vote on the 5th of May. Under this Bill, if an employer is guilty of an offence, they face a maximum fine of $13 million and up to 20 years imprisonment.
International Workers’ Memorial Day is the day we remember and mourn for the dead, and fight for the living. The workplace should be a safe environment for everyone. Employers need to be held accountable if their recklessness or negligence leads to the death of a worker.
Industrial or workplace manslaughter laws are in place in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia. South Australia and Tasmania are the last remaining jurisdictions without such laws.
The first industrial manslaughter conviction in Australia was handed down in Queensland on the 11th of June 2020, convicting Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd of industrial manslaughter and imposing the highest fine of $3 million. The two directors also both received a sentence of 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 20 months. This conviction was the result of a worker being struck by a forklift being reversed by an unlicensed and inexperienced worker. The struck worker died in hospital 8 days later.
Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:
“Everyone deserves to come home safe from work. We must ensure that employers have a genuine incentive to provide a safe workplace, and to prevent them from taking shortcuts that may endanger workers’ lives.
“This is life saving legislation. Every single workplace death is significant, and an avoidable tragedy that will affect the lives of many others.
“South Australian workers have waited long enough for this protection. The Greens have put up this Bill before, but things have changed across the country since then. We hope that this time we will have the support to make industrial manslaughter a crime. Back then we would have led the country, but now we lag behind.
Greens Industrial Relations spokesperson, Tammy Franks MLC, will be available for comment TODAY at the rally for International Workers’ Memorial Day, on the steps of Parliament House from 12:00pm.