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At 30 June 2017, Safe Work Australia operated within the Department of Employment portfolio and reported to the Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.

Members

Safe Work Australia comprises 15 Members including an independent Chair, nine Members representing the Commonwealth and each state and territory, two Members representing the interests of workers, two representing the interests of employers and the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia. Members are supported by the staff of Safe Work Australia and various committees and groups for technical and policy matters.

Safe Work Australia is required to convene at least three meetings each financial year. Safe Work Australia Members met six times in 2016–17. The Members as at 30 June 2017 are shown below.

Diane Smith-Gander, Chair

Ms Diane Smith-Gander, Chair
Ms Smith-Gander is non-executive director of AGL Energy Limited, Wesfarmers Limited, a board member of Keystart Loans, Henry Davis York, CEDA, and the Chair of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council.
Her previous non-executive roles have included Chairman of Broadspectrum, Deputy Chairperson of NBNCo, non-executive director of the CBH Group and commissioner of Tourism WA.
Ms Smith-Gander’s last executive role was Group Executive at Westpac Banking Corporation. Prior to that she was a partner at McKinsey & Company in the United States, serving clients in diverse industries globally. She became a senior adviser to McKinsey in Australia in 2016.
Ms Smith-Gander is a Fellow of the AICD and Governance Institute of Australia and adjunct professor of Corporate Governance at the University of Western Australia, where she serves on the advisory board of the Business School.

Michelle Baxter, Safe Work Australia

Ms Michelle Baxter, Safe Work Australia
Ms Baxter is the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia. Her biography can be found in Part 5 - Our Organisation.

Carmel Donnelly, New South Wales

Ms Carmel Donnelly, New South Wales
Ms Donnelly became the Acting Chief Executive of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) in March 2017. Her previous roles include Executive Director in SIRA, General Manager, Strategy and Performance for the Safety, Return to Work and Support agencies in NSW, General Manager and Deputy General Manager at the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW and Director, Strategy and Planning with Fire and Rescue NSW. She has been a Review Director in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and an Associate Director in NSW Health.
Ms Donnelly holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Psychology). She is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management.

Clare Amies, Victoria

Ms Clare Amies, Victoria
Ms Amies is the Chief Executive of WorkSafe Victoria. Ms Amies has held several Executive Director roles at WorkSafe, including Executive Director of the Insurance Business Unit and Executive Director of the Health and Disability Strategy Group. Ms Amies has held senior management positions for the past 15 years in social welfare, health policy, return to work, operational management, strategy and planning. Prior to joining WorkSafe, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Western Region Health Centre.

Simon Blackwood, Queensland

Dr Simon Blackwood, Queensland
Dr Blackwood is the Deputy Director-General for the Office of Industrial Relations, within Queensland Treasury. In this role he is responsible for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office. He has regulatory responsibility for workers’ compensation matters and provides policy advice on these matters. He is also responsible for supporting a fair and productive industrial relations framework for the public sector in Queensland and advising government on private sector industrial relations issues in Queensland. Dr Blackwood’s previous roles have included Executive Director of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and General Manager of Private Sector Industrial Relations. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Queensland.

Dini Soulio, South Australia

Mr Dini Soulio, South Australia
Mr Soulio is the Acting Executive Director of SafeWork SA. He is also Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and Liquor & Gambling with Consumer and Business Services since April 2014.
Mr Soulio’s background is as a solicitor in private practice working in the areas of insurance, workers’ compensation and criminal law. He joined the Australian Customs Service as Manager, Border Enforcement, responsible for investigations and ship search teams. Mr Soulio then joined the Australian Securities & Investments Commission where he had national responsibility for complaints, investigations and prosecutions dealing with matters including scams, liquidator misconduct, director’s duties breaches and insolvent trading.

Lex McCulloch, Western Australia

Mr Lex McCulloch, Western Australia
Mr McCulloch is the Commissioner of WorkSafe Western Australia. He has been employed in the Western Australian Public Sector since 1978 when he joined the Department for Community Welfare. He has worked in a variety of locations and roles across the state including Derby, Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland and Perth. Mr McCulloch’s various roles have provided him with a range of experiences such as leading restructuring processes, delivering on significant projects and leading service delivery units, all of which have been aimed at improving the wellbeing of people in Western Australia. He has a Social Work Degree from Curtin University.

Michael Young, Australian Capital Territory

Mr Michael Young, Australian Capital Territory
Mr Young has over 15 years’ experience in senior workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory roles. He is currently the Executive Director, Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, a division of the ACT Government’s Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate. In this capacity he is the senior ACT Government official responsible for the ACT’s industrial relations, workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory frameworks. In addition to his duties as Executive Director, Mr Young represents the ACT on two ministerial advisory committees, the ACT Work Safety Council and the Default Insurance Fund Advisory Committee, which he chairs. Mr Young is also the Chair of SIG-Workers’ Compensation.

Martin Shirley, Tasmania

Mr Martin Shirley, Tasmania
Mr Shirley is the Chief Executive of WorkSafe Tasmania. He has held senior management positions for the past 20 years in industrial relations, operational management, strategy, planning and communications. Prior to joining WorkSafe, Mr Shirley was the Director WorkCover Tasmania, within the Department of Justice. In this role he was responsible for the strategic management of WorkCover operations and for the directorate, health and safety innovation and communications. Mr Shirley is Tasmania’s Asbestos Compensation Commissioner, Secretary of WorkCover Tasmania and Tasmania’s Regulator of WHS.

Stephen Gelding, Nothern Territory

Mr Stephen Gelding, Northern Territory
Mr Gelding is the Executive Director of NT WorkSafe, a division of the Northern Territory Government Department of Business. He commenced with NT WorkSafe as Senior Director in July 2013. He has over 35 years’ experience as a clinician and in senior management positions, predominantly within the health and community services sector of the NT public service. Mr Gelding is also appointed as the Work Health Authority, the Electricity Safety Regulator and the Chief Inspector under the Radioactive Ores and Concentrates (Packaging and Transport) Act. He is a member of the NT Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council, Chair of the NT Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme Monitoring Committee, and a member of the (Northern Territory) Inter-Agency Asbestos Management Working Group.

Justine Ross, Commonwealth

Ms Justine Ross, Commonwealth
Ms Ross is Acting Group Manager of the WHS Policy Group in the Department of Employment. In her current role she is responsible for policy development and advice on Commonwealth WHS and workers’ compensation, maritime workers’ compensation and WHS matters (for the Commonwealth’s Seacare scheme), asbestos matters and workplace relations issues concerning the building industry (including on the reestablishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and Building Code). Ms Ross has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University and is currently undertaking a Master in OHS at the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation at Turin University. She is admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in the ACT. Ms Ross has expertise in workplace relations law including WHS and workers’ compensation matters. Ms Ross is deputy member of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and the chair of SIG-Explosives.

Michael Borowick, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Mr Michael Borowick, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Borowick is an Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and has responsibility for WHS and workers’ compensation matters. He represents the ACTU as a member of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council; Safe Work Australia; Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission; Defence Reserves Support Council and Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council. Prior to his current position, Mr Borowick was an official of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) for 20 years, where he was the Victorian Branch Assistant Secretary and a member of the AWU National Executive.

Andrew Dettmer, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Mr Andrew Dettmer, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Dettmer is National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union. Prior to this he was State Secretary for the Queensland/ NT Branch from 2003 until 2012. He has been an official of the union at national and state levels since 1988. Mr Dettmer has held a number of board positions, including on the boards of QMI Solutions, the Queensland Training and Employment Recognition Council, and Construction Skills Queensland. He was Chair of Manufacturing Skills Queensland, and an ACTU nominee to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency prior to its abolition. He is currently on the board of the Australia Institute and Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad, the ACTU’s overseas aid arm.

James Pearson, Australian Chamber

Mr James Pearson, Australian Chamber
Mr Pearson was appointed to lead the business advocacy group the Australian Chamber in April 2016, after holding senior roles in the private and public sectors, including Shell Australia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Western Australia. As a diplomat, Mr Pearson represented Australia in Africa, the Pacific and China. He has also represented the petroleum industry in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Mr Pearson has an MBA from Victoria’s Deakin University, an Honours Degree in Science from the University of Western Australia and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mark Goodsell, Ai Group

Mr Mark Goodsell, Ai Group
Mr Goodsell is NSW National Head of Manufacturing for the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). Mr Goodsell represents secondary industry in a range of policy areas including employment regulation, industry policy, trade, environment and procurement. He was previously an industrial relations adviser to the manufacturing and construction sectors and holds degrees in economics and law.

Safe Work Australia strategic issues groups

Safe Work Australia Members established strategic issues groups (SIGs) to progress WHS, workers’ compensation and explosives matters. The groups are tripartite in nature and provide policy advice and recommendations to assist Members. Secretariat support for each SIG is provided by the agency.

SIG-WHS

SIG-Work Health and Safety (SIG-WHS) assists Safe Work Australia in performing its statutory functions with regard to WHS matters.

The SIG-WHS met three times during 2016–17.

SIG-WHS members as at 30 June 2017

Member Membership
Mr Paul Goldsbrough Chair
Mr Mark Burton Commonwealth
Ms Jodie Deakes New South Wales
Ms Angela Jolic  Victoria
Mr Bradley Bick Queensland
Mr Bill Mitchell Western Australia
Mr Chris McKie South Australia
Mr Mark Cocker Tasmania
Mr Stephen Gelding Northern Territory
Mr Bill Smith Australian Capital Territory
Mr Ben Maxfield Australian Council of Trade Unions
Dr Deb Vallance Australian Council of Trade Unions
Ms Jennifer Low Australian Chamber of Commerce of Industry
Ms Tracey Browne Ai Group
Ms Michelle Baxter Safe Work Australia

SIG-Workers’ Compensation

SIG-Workers’ Compensation assists Safe Work Australia in performing its statutory functions with regard to workers’ compensation matters.

The SIG-Workers’ Compensation met three times during 2016–17.

SIG-Workers’ Compensation members at 30 June 2017

Member Membership
Mr Michael Young Chair
Ms Jodie Wearne Commonwealth
Mr Gary Jeffery Comcare
Ms Carmel Donnelly New South Wales
Mr Shane O'Dea Victoria
Mr Paul Goldsbrough Queensland
Ms Michelle Reynolds Western Australia
Mr Rob Cordiner South Australia
Mr Brad Parker Tasmania
Mr Bevan Pratt Northern Territory
Mr Bill Smith Australian Capital Territory
Mr Chris Prast Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Dave Henry Australian Council of Trade Unions
Ms Jennifer Low Australian Chamber of Commerce of Industry
Ms Tracey Browne Ai Group
Ms Amanda Grey Safe Work Australia

SIG-Explosives

SIG-Explosives assists Safe Work Australia in the development of a nationally consistent explosives framework.

The SIG-Explosives met two times during 2016–17.

SIG-Explosives members as at 30 June 2017

Member Membership
Ms Justine Ross Chair
Mr Mark Burton Commonwealth
Ms Maegan McCool New South Wales
Ms Angela Jolic Victoria
Mr Noel Erichsen Queensland
Mr Philip Hine Western Australia
Mr Stephen De Musso South Australia
Ms Wendy Clarkson Tasmania
Ms Melissa Garde Northern Territory
Mr Bill Smith Australian Capital Territory
Mr Jim Ward Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Keith Shaw Australian Council of Trade Unions
Mr Paul Harrison Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ms Tracey Browne Ai Group
Ms Michelle Baxter Safe Work Australia

Reference groups

In 2013, Safe Work Australia Members established three reference groups to share information between jurisdictions and Safe Work Australia on specific topics. These are the:

  • Communications Reference Group (CRG)
  • Research and Evaluation Reference Group (RERG), and
  • Data Reference Group (DRG).

The reference groups are tripartite and reflect Safe Work Australia’s membership.

Communications Reference Group

The CRG is made up of communication officers representing each Safe Work Australia Member. The group shares information on communication activities, awareness raising campaigns and findings of communication research.

Safe Work Australia collaborated with the CRG throughout 2016–17, including on the planning and delivery of activities to build awareness of National Safe Work Month, World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Workers’ Memorial Day and the Virtual Seminar Series. The group is also given updates about new Safe Work Australia publications, fact sheets and research so these can be distributed through its networks.

Research and Evaluation Reference Group

The members of the RERG have a sound understanding of policy, research or evaluation. The group includes representation from WorkSafe New Zealand. In 2016–17 the group met twice by teleconference and advised on the scope, methodology, content and reporting of research and evaluation projects, and the emerging issues programme.

Data Reference Group

The DRG has representatives of each Safe Work Australia Member with responsibilities or direct interest in WHS and workers’ compensation data. The group shares information on data activities and findings, and discusses issues associated with the availability, comparability and supply of relevant data. The DRG meets on an ad hoc basis as required. The group did not meet during 2016–17.

Other committees

The Chief Executive Officer sits on the following committees described in the table below.

Representation on other committees

Committee Description Representation
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) A statutory body with regulatory functions relating to Comcare and other authorities that determine workers’ compensation claims under the Commonwealth scheme. Commissioner
Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) Representatives of the jurisdictional bodies responsible for the regulation and administration of workplace health and safety in Australia and New Zealand. The group mounts national compliance campaigns targeted at specific industries. These campaign initiatives facilitate the development of consistent approaches to nationally recognised priorities. Observer
Heads of Workers’ Compensation Authorities (HWCA) Representatives of the jurisdictional bodies responsible for the regulation and administration of workers’ compensation in Australia and New Zealand. The group promotes and implements best practice in workers’ compensation arrangements in the areas of policy and legislative matters, regulation and scheme administration. Observer
Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council (ASEC) The Council provides a national focus on asbestos issues that goes beyond workplace safety to encompass environmental and public health concerns. Commonwealth Representative

A word from the Chair

Since being appointed Chair of Safe Work Australia in February 2016, I have worked closely with an agency that shares my passion for reducing the incidence of work-related fatalities and injuries in Australia.

Safe Work Australia is striving to be a model for the innovative development of multi-stakeholder policy. A significant demonstration of this has been Safe Work Australia’s success in harmonisation. It has now been eight years since Safe Work Australia was tasked with developing model WHS laws—the biggest reform to WHS in Australia’s history. Since then work has continued to refine the model WHS laws to remove unnecessary regulation and ensure the legislative framework reflects the needs of both contemporary workplaces and the workplaces of the future in providing high levels of protection for workers.

Consistent with Safe Work Australia’s corporate plan, diverse views and interests are recognised to ensure the development of effective national WHS and workers’ compensation policy. Over the past year, efforts in this area have been strengthened by fostering strong engagement and collaboration across the whole of government, WHS regulators, employers and unions on priority issues.

Ongoing collaborative work in implementing the Australian Strategy is of the greatest importance. At the mid-way point, ambitious targets to reduce work-related traumatic fatalities and injuries appear achievable. The dedicated national effort focusing on areas that require the greatest improvement to achieve the vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives is pleasing.

The ever-changing work environment presents many challenges. Safe Work Australia needs to ensure policy work is effective and relevant. Data, research and evaluation is critical in providing a successful foundation for evidence based policy. The agency is looking at new ways and places to collect data and research to provide solutions to national policy questions; for today and to address challenges that are likely to arise in the future. A significant action area in the Australian Strategy is leadership and culture. Only communities and leaders can drive improved WHS and make it a priority in all work processes and decisions. I am passionate about leadership in WHS and have actively promoted this in my role as Chair. I have drawn on my personal experience in corporate leadership in various speaking opportunities including VSS seminars, press interviews and presentations at conferences and events.

The VSS seminars are an important vehicle for engaging with business leaders across a range of WHS issues. Improvements in WHS are best achieved when the importance of WHS is modelled by the senior leadership, supported by the organisation’s culture and embedded in its procedures and processes. I will never tire of saying “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” The broader benefits to business are well supported by the research – when effective health and safety systems are in place to ensure good outcomes, the more engaged and productive employees are.

I look forward to continuing to work with an agency that exemplifies a sense of intellectual curiosity and drives innovative thinking that delivers real outcomes for the Australian community.

VSS panel members Jennifer Hewett, Australian Financial Review, Diane Smith-Gander, Safe Work Australia Chair, Dean Pritchard, Broadspectrum and Marcus Hooke, News Corp
Why big business needs to lead work health and safety A VSS panel broadcast in April 2017.
L to R: Jennifer Hewett, Australian Financial Review, Diane Smith-Gander, Safe Work Australia Chair, Dean Pritchard, Broadspectrum and Marcus Hooke, News Corp.

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Last modified on Monday 11 December 2017 [9111|66951]