The review was led by Mr Craig Allen, former Deputy Director General of the Office of Industrial Relations; Mr Charles Massy, a barrister specialising in Industrial Relations and Employment; and Ms Deirdre Swan, former Deputy President of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
The review considered the overall effectiveness of the key components of the WHS Act in achieving its objectives, including:
- Considering and reporting on any need for amendments to ensure:
- provisions relating to health and safety representatives are effective and operating as intended
- workers are appropriately represented and assisted in the workplace for the purpose of health and safety matters
- the effectiveness of the legislative framework for review and stay provisions with enforcement notices under the WHS Act
- provisions relating to the issue and dispute resolution are effective and operating as intended.
- Any other matters relating to the WHS Act's overall effectiveness and performance in ensuring a balanced framework to secure health and safety of workers and workplaces and consider whether any legislative or administrative amendments are required.
View the review Terms of reference (PDF, 105 KB).
The Review Report
The Review of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 - Final Report (PDF, 4.4 MB) and the Queensland Government’s response (PDF, 850 KB) are now available. The Palaszczuk Government has accepted all 31 recommendations outlined in the Review Report. It is anticipated legislation will be introduced to Parliament later this year to implement the majority of the recommendations.
Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023
On 30 November 2023, the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing, introduced the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 (the Bill) into Parliament.
The Bill gives effect to 33 sub-recommendations from the Review Report, including:
- strengthening and promoting the role of health and safety representatives, including clarifying powers they can exercise and functions they can perform
- promoting consultation about WHS with workers and their representatives
- clarifying rights of entry permit holders that can be exercised at the workplace to assist workers in relation to a suspected contravention of the WHS Act
- clarifying that relevant unions whose rules entitle them to represent the workers’ interests may assist workers and act as their representatives in relation to WHS issues. Associations of employees or independent contractors that represent or purport to represent the industrial interests of workers but are not registered unions are excluded from assisting workers and acting as their representatives on WHS issues, and
- streamlining the dispute resolution process and moving certain proceedings from the Magistrates Court to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
The remaining recommendations from the Review Report are being implemented administratively, or are subject to national review processes and further consultation.
In addition, the Bill also gives effect to nine recommendations from the national 2018 Review of the Model Work Health and Safety Laws (also known as the Boland Review) including:
- amending the Category 1 offence to include negligence as a fault element, in addition to reckless conduct
- clarifying that health and safety representatives are entitled to choose their training provider, meeting an election commitment of the Government (GEC 1533)
- prohibiting a person from providing, entering into, or benefiting from a contract of insurance to cover liability for monetary penalties imposed under the WHS Act, and
- clarifying information sharing with other regulators.
The Bill has been referred to the Education, Employment and Training Committee for consideration.
Read the Bill and explanatory notes.