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SWA is an Australian government statutory body established in 2008 to develop national policy relating to WHS and workers’ compensation.

We are jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments through an Intergovernmental Agreement. We perform our functions in accordance with our Corporate plan and Operational plan, which are agreed annually by Ministers for Work Health and Safety.

We are an inclusive, tripartite body—we work in partnership with governments, employers and employees—to drive national policy development on WHS and workers’ compensation matters. We work to:

  • develop and evaluate national policy and strategies
  • develop and evaluate the model WHS legislative framework
  • undertake research, and
  • collect, analyse and report data.

Find out more about who we are and what we do in Making workplaces safer, which features national WHS and workers’ compensation statistics.

As a national policy body, we do not regulate WHS laws. The Commonwealth, states and territories retain responsibility for regulating and enforcing WHS laws in their jurisdictions.

Our members

We have 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
  • Chief Executive Officer.

Further information about Safe Work Australia Members can be found under Our people.

Intergovernmental Agreement

The Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety was agreed by COAG on 3 July 2008. This agreement formalises the cooperation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to achieve harmonisation of work health and safety laws.

Functions

The key functions of Safe Work Australia as set out in the Safe Work Australia Act 2008.

Item Topic The functions of Safe Work Australia are:
1 National policy and strategy to develop, evaluate and, if necessary, revise national WHS and workers’ compensation policies and supporting strategies, including the following:
  1. a national WHS strategy, to be developed for approval by the WHS Ministers;
  2. a national compliance and enforcement policy, to be developed for approval by the WHS Ministers, for the model WHS legislative framework; and
2 Model WHS legislative framework and other WHS material
  1. to develop, evaluate and, if necessary, revise:
    1. a model WHS legislative framework, to be developed for approval by the WHS Ministers for adoption by the Commonwealth, the States and the Territories; and
    2. other material relating to WHS; and
  2. to monitor the adoption by the Commonwealth, the States and the Territories of the model WHS legislative framework approved by the WHS Ministers; and
3 Workers’ compensation to develop proposals to improve workers’ compensation arrangements, and to promote national consistency in such arrangements; and
4 Evidence to:
  1. collect, analyse and publish relevant data; and
  2. undertake and publish research;
    to inform the development and evaluation of WHS and workers’ compensation policies and strategies; and
5 Education and communication to develop and implement national education and communication strategies and initiatives:
  1. to support improvements in WHS outcomes and workers’ compensation arrangements; and
  2. to promote national consistency in such strategies and initiatives; and
6 Collaboration to collaborate with the Commonwealth, the States and the Territories, and other national and international bodies, on WHS and workers’ compensation policy matters of national importance; and
7 Advising the WHS Ministers to advise the WHS Ministers on national policy matters and initiatives relating to WHS and workers’ compensation; and
8 Other conferred functions such other functions that are conferred on it by, or under, this Act or any other Commonwealth Act.

Establishment of Safe Work Australia

Organisation name and information

Date

Safe Work Australia 
On 1 November 2009 SWA was established as a Statutory Agency under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008.

1 November 2009—present

Safe Work Australia 
On 1 July 2009 SWA 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 31 March 2009 the ASCC was abolished and the Safe Work Australia Council was created.

On 1 April 2009 SWA was established as an independent, separately branded entity within DEEWR to support the work of the Safe Work Australia Council.

SWA was co-funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and replaced the Office of the ASCC.

April 2009—June 2009

Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC)

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations announced the Government would replace NOHSC with an administrative tripartite advisory body, the Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC).

DEEWR was directly appropriated to support the functions previously delivered by NOHSC from February 2005. These functions were undertaken by the Office of the ASCC. The ASCC was established administratively in October 2005.

On 1 January 2006 NOHSC was abolished and the Australian Workplace Safety Standards Act 2005 started providing the ASCC with the statutory function to declare National Standards and Codes of Practice for work health and safety.

COAG signed the IGA in July 2008. The agreement provided for the establishment of a new national tripartite body with primary responsibility for driving national policy development for work health and safety and workers’ compensation including the development of model WHS laws.

The Safe Work Australia Bill 2008 was introduced into the Australian Parliament on 4 September 2008. Following two attempts to have the legislation passed in the Senate, the Bill was laid aside on 4 December 2008.

On 12 February 2009 the Ministerial Council agreed SWA would be established as an Executive Agency under the Public Service Act 1999.

The establishment of SWA administratively was considered necessary to ensure the timetable for work health and safety harmonisation determined by COAG was not jeopardised.

October 2005—March 2009

National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC)

In October 1984 NOHSC was established administratively to lead and coordinate national efforts to prevent workplace death, injury and disease.

In 1985 NOHSC was established as a statutory authority under the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission Act 1985. It was a Commonwealth authority for the purposes of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

December 1985—December 2005

 
 

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Last modified on Monday 11 December 2017 [1326|66806]