At a glance
Safe Work Australia is a statutory agency established under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth), and a non-corporate entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) (PGPA Act).
Safe Work Australia is within the portfolio of the Attorney-General’s Department and reports to the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon Christian Porter MP.
Safe Work Australia has 15 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 (CEO) of Safe Work Australia.
Information about Safe Work Australia Members is in Part 2—Our Minister and Members.
Our Members are supported by around 100 Australian Public Service (APS) employees.
Information about the agency can be found in Part 5—Our organisation.
Our office is located at level 7, Nishi Building, 2 Phillip Law Street, Canberra ACT.
In 2018–19, the agency received $20.590 million in funding. We are jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments through an inter-governmental agreement.
Healthy, safe and productive working lives.
All workers regardless of their occupation or how they are engaged have the right to a healthy and safe working environment. We believe the effective design of work and work systems, and the systematic management of risks, will allow workers to lead productive working lives.
To achieve our vision we work in partnership with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, employer and worker representatives to:
- monitor and improve Australia’s model work health and safety (WHS) legislative framework
- lead national policy development on WHS and workers’ compensation matters
- collect, analyse and share WHS and workers’ compensation data and research
- provide guidance to manage WHS risks, and
- support the implementation of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 (the Australian Strategy).
We perform our functions in accordance with our corporate and operational plans, which are agreed annually by WHS ministers. Our performance against these targets is described in the Annual Performance Statement.
Why our work is important
In 2018, 144 workers were killed at work and each year over 100,000 are compensated for a serious work-related injury or illness. Work-related fatalities, injury and illness have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the community. Not only do work-related injuries and illness cause physical, mental and emotional distress, they impose a significant cost on the Australian economy.
Safe Work Australia is committed to developing policy aimed at reducing the incidence of work-related death, injury, illness, and exposure to hazards and risks in the workplace. We know our work is having an impact, as Australia continues to experience a decrease in work-related injuries and fatalities. In the past decade we have seen work-related fatality rates drop by over 50 per cent.
Through our analysis of data and research we are gaining better insights into future WHS and workers’ compensation challenges. The changing nature of work and workplaces, the shift in workforce demographics and the evolution of new technologies present new risks, but also provide us with new opportunities to influence WHS in a changing world.
We work closely with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, unions, industry, business, employer and worker groups, educators, academics and international organisations. Information about our stakeholders is in Stakeholders.
As a national policy body, we do not regulate WHS laws or administer workers’ compensation arrangements. The Commonwealth, states and territories have responsibility for regulating and enforcing WHS laws and administering workers’ compensation schemes in their respective jurisdictions.
Community impact - snapshot 2018–19
Our model WHS Act and Regulations
- provide a fair, balanced and consistent focus on the health and safety of workers
- help reduce compliance costs for Australian business, and
- improve regulatory efficiency.
Our model Codes of Practice and guidance materials
- provide practical guidance on how to comply with WHS laws
- provide effective ways to identify and manage risks, and
- help those who have a duty under the law understand their responsibilities and how these responsibilities can be met.
Our national data and research
- provide a reliable evidence base to informWHSand workers’ compensation policy and practice
- create a national picture of work-related injuries, fatalities and diseases, and
- help to identify emerging work-related issues.
Our national education and awareness campaigns
- help draw attention to health and safety issues in the workplace
- provide a range of resources, campaign materials and ideas to help organisations plan activities in their workplace, and
- empower workers to speak up about health and safety in their workplaces.
Our Virtual Seminar Series broadcasts
- provide an opportunity to explore complex and challenging topics
- challenge contemporary thinking, and
- invite leading experts to debate alternative views about WHS issues publicly.
What we achieved - snapshot 2018–19
Progress on our key projects - snapshot 2018–19
Digital reach - snapshot 2018–19