About Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia is a tripartite body with the following members:
- an independent chair
- members representing the Commonwealth and each state and territory
- members representing the interests of workers
- members representing the interests of employers, and
- the Chief Executive Officer.
Further information about Safe Work Australia Members can be found under Our Members.
Safe Work Australia was established by the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 with primary responsibility to lead the development of policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. It performs its functions in accordance with strategic and operational plans agreed annually by the Select Council on Workplace Relations.
Safe Work Australia began operating as an independent Australian Government statutory agency on 1 November 2009. It is jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments through an Intergovernmental Agreement.
As a national policy body Safe Work Australia does not regulate work health and safety laws. The Commonwealth, states and territories retain responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.
The Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety was agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 3 July 2008. This agreement formalises the cooperation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to achieve harmonisation of OHS laws.
The key functions of Safe Work Australia as set out in the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 are to:
- develop national policy relating to OHS and workers’ compensation
- prepare a model Act and model regulations relating to OHS and, if necessary, revise them:
- for approval by WRMC, and
- for adoption as laws of the Commonwealth, each of the States and each of the Territories
- prepare model codes of practice relating to OHS and, if necessary, revise them:
- for approval by WRMC, and
- for adoption as codes of practice of the Commonwealth, each of the States and each of the territories and made under laws of those jurisdictions that adopt the approved model OHS legislation
- prepare other material relating to OHS and, if necessary, revise that material
- develop a policy, for approval by WRMC, dealing with the compliance and enforcement of the Australian laws that adopt the approved model OHS legislation, to ensure that a nationally consistent approach is taken to compliance and enforcement
- monitor the adoption by the Commonwealth, states and territories of:
- the approved model OHS legislation as a law of those jurisdictions
- the approved model OHS codes of practice as codes of practice of those jurisdictions, and
- the approved OHS compliance and enforcement policy as a policy of those jurisdictions
- collect, analyse and publish data or other information relating to OHS and workers’ compensation in order to inform the development or evaluation of policies in relation to those matters
- conduct and publish research relating to OHS and workers’ compensation in order to inform the development or evaluation of policies in relation to those matters
- revise and further develop the National OHS Strategy 2002-2012 released by WRMC on 24 May 2002, as amended from time to time
- develop and promote national strategies to raise awareness of OHS and workers’ compensation
- develop proposals relating to:
- harmonising workers’ compensation arrangements across the Commonwealth, states and territories, and
- workers’ compensation arrangements for employers with workers in more than one of those jurisdictions
- advise WRMC on matters relating to OHS or workers’ compensation
- liaise with other countries or international organisations on matters relating to OHS or workers’ compensation, and
- perform such other functions that are conferred on it by WRMC.
Establishment of Safe Work Australia
The table below outlines the progress of Safe Work Australia to an independent statutory agency.
|Organisation name and information||Date|
|Safe Work Australia
On 1 November 2009 Safe Work Australia was
established as a Statutory Agency under the Safe Work Australia Act.
|1 November 2009 - present|
|Safe Work Australia
On 1 July 2009 Safe Work Australia was established
as an Executive Agency under the Public Service Act 1996 and
prescribed under the FMA Act 1997.
|July 2009 – October 2009|
Safe Work Australia
On 1 April 2009 Safe Work Australia was
Safe Work Australia was co-funded by the Commonwealth, state and
|April 2009 – June 2009|
Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC)
DEEWR was directly appropriated to support the functions previously
On 1 January 2006 NOHSC was abolished and the Australian Workplace
COAG signed the IGA in July 2008. The agreement provided for the
The Safe Work Australia Bill 2008 was introduced into the Australian
On 12 February 2009 the Ministerial Council agreed Safe Work Australia
The establishment of Safe Work Australia administratively was considered
|October 2005 – March 2009|
National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC)
In 1985 NOHSC was established as a tripartite statutory authority under the
|December 1985 – December 2005|
Further information about Safe Work Australia can be found in the following: