Safe Work Australia 2023–2024 Operational Plan
Safe Work Australia was established under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth) (the SWA Act). In accordance with the SWA Act, this operational plan details the activities to be undertaken by Safe Work Australia and the planned expenditure for the year. Further, it is consistent with, and supports, the strategies in the Corporate Plan 2023-2027 and does not deal with the allocation of resources for the performance of Safe Work Australia’s functions.
Safe Work Australia has an important national role to achieve significant and continual reductions in the incidence of work-related death, injury and illness and to improve outcomes for injured workers and their employers. It is a tripartite forum representing the interests of the Commonwealth, states and territories, as well as workers and employers in Australia to:
- collaborate on national work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation policy matters
- lead the development of evidence-based policy and supporting education and strategies, and
- promote consistency in WHS and workers’ compensation arrangements.
This collaborative model recognises that national WHS and workers’ compensation outcomes are improved when all relevant views and interests are considered.
This plan describes the activities to be undertaken by Safe Work Australia in performing its statutory functions during 2023-24, within the total operating budget of $24.677m.
The activities we will undertake in 2023–2024
The activities we will undertake in 2023-2024 support the strategies outlined in the Safe Work Australia Corporate Plan 2023-2027 and reflect the priorities agreed by Safe Work Australia Members.
During 2023-24 we will progress key activities including:
- progressing the February 2023 decisions of WHS ministers on minimising the risks of exposure to silica dust and the development of silicosis and silica-associated diseases, including:
- delivery of national awareness and behaviour change initiatives, in partnership with Members, and
- stronger regulation of high-risk crystalline silica processes for all materials (including engineered stone) across all industries.
- progressing any decision by WHS ministers on a prohibition on the use of some or all engineered stone
- finalising the agreed recommendations from the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws
- conducting a public consultation process to progress amendments to the incident notification provisions
- undertaking education and awareness activities in relation to new and changing workplace exposure standards, as agreed by WHS ministers
- developing new model WHS Regulations and model Codes of Practice for WHS ministers to consider, including the model Code of Practice on sexual harassment
- developing and refining guidance in relation to priority industries and hazards, including the gig economy, psychosocial hazards and harmful behaviours
- monitoring the progress of actions contained in the Australian Work, Health and Safety Strategy 2023–2033
- progressing national initiatives under the National Return to Work Strategy
- 2020–2030 to address the barriers to affected workers’ returning to work, and
- continuing to enhance our data holdings and evidence base, including through the Data Improvement Project and the official launch of Safe Work Australia’s data website.
In addition to these key activities, we will also continue performing our core activities by:
- developing accessible, effective and practical material to support the model WHS legislative framework to aid understanding and compliance, particularly for small business
- driving and leveraging national action to improve return to work outcomes for workers with work-related injury or illness
- collecting, analysing and disseminating high quality evidence
- collaborating with our national and international counterparts, and
- increasing awareness and education through our online multimedia hub and National Safe Work Month in October 2023.
How we will measure our performance
Our performance in delivering the activities identified in this plan will be measured against the performance criteria and targets included in the Safe Work Australia 2023-24 Portfolio Budget Statements and reported in the Safe Work Australia Annual Report.