Safe Work Australia Members

There are 15 Safe Work Australia Members:

  • one independent Chair
  • one Member representing the Commonwealth
  • eight Members representing each state and territory
  • two Members representing the interests of workers
  • two Members representing the interests of employers, and
  • the CEO of Safe Work Australia.

Commonwealth, state and territory Members are nominated by and report to their respective WHS ministers. Members representing the interests of workers and employers are nominated by their corresponding authorised body. All nominated Members are appointed in writing by the Minister for Industrial Relations for a maximum term of three years.

The Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth) outlines the authority and voting arrangements of Members. Matters not relating to the model WHS legislation or model Codes of Practice are decided by a two-thirds majority of the votes of the voting Members present and voting. For matters relating to the model WHS legislation or model Codes of Practice, a decision is made by a two-thirds majority of the votes of the voting Members present and voting, and a majority of the votes of all the voting Members who represent the Commonwealth, states and territories.

Our Members

During 2018–19 four new Safe Work Australia Members were appointed replacing Mark Goodsell (Australian Industry Group), Michael Borowick (Australian Council of Trade Unions), Ian Munns (Western Australia) and Justine Ross (Commonwealth). As at 30 June 2019 over a third of Safe Work Australia Members were women.

Diane Smith-Gander AO—Chair

Photo of Diane Smith-Gander AO

Diane Smith-Gander AO was appointed Chair of Safe Work Australia in February 2016 and immediately embraced the role of spokesperson and advocate for WHS. Diane was reappointed Chair in February 2019 for a further three years.

Diane has played a vocal role in supporting our vision of creating healthy, safe and productive working lives for all Australians. Diane has inspired audiences with her keynote presentations at a number of WHS conferences, including those hosted by the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH) and the National Safety Council of Australia in 2017, Comcare in 2018 and the Australian Trucking Association in 2019.

Diane brings a wealth of experience to her position as Chair, with multiple non-executive roles spanning a range of industries. Diane is non-executive director of listed companies AGL Energy and Wesfarmers Limited, a board member of the WA government-owned Keystart group of companies and the North Queensland Airports group of companies. She is a member of the Norton Rose Fulbright Australia Partnership Council, Chair of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council, and the past President of Chief Executive Women. Diane is also a board member of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, and in 2019 was announced as their next Chair from November 2019.

In June 2018, Diane received the Western Australian of the Year Business Award for her contribution to gender equality and female representation in corporate leadership roles.

Adrian Breen—Commonwealth
Photo of Adrian Breen

Adrian is Branch Manager of the Work Health and Safety Policy Branch in the Attorney-General’s Department. In this role Adrian is responsible for policy development and advice on WHS and asbestos matters in the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

Adrian has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania, and a Masters in Industrial Relations from Charles Sturt University. He is admitted as a legal practitioner in the ACT, and has expertise in workplace relations law including WHS, and workers’ compensation matters.

Carmel Donnelly—New South Wales

Photo of Carmel Donnelly

Carmel Donnelly was appointed as Chief Executive of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) in 2017. SIRA regulates and stewards the NSW workers’ compensation system, motor accidents insurance scheme and other statutory insurance in NSW.

Carmel’s previous roles include Acting Deputy Commissioner at the NSW Public Service Commission, 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 also been a Review Director in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and an Associate Director in NSW Health.

Carmel 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

Photo of Clare Amies

Clare Amies was appointed as a Safe Work Australia Member in April 2015. In her four years as a Safe Work Australia Member Clare has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about eliminating risks in the workplace and the need for businesses to put injury prevention at the top of the their agenda.

Clare is currently Chief Executive and Board member at WorkSafe Victoria and has a breadth of experience with the organisation working towards preventing workplace injuries, supporting injured workers and managing insurance and compensation for both workers and employers in Victoria.

Clare has held senior management positions for the past 20 years in social welfare health policy, return to work, operational management, strategy and planning. Prior to this Clare was CEO of the Western Region Health Centre and before that its General Manager, Primary Care Services. Clare is a Harvard Graduate from the Advanced Management Program

Simon Blackwood—Queensland

Photo of Simon Blackwood

Simon Blackwood commenced his term at Safe Work Australia in November 2012. Simon is open about the need for a targeted and responsive regulatory approach to help reduce work-related and electrical fatalities, injury and disease.

Until late 2018, Simon was the Deputy Director-General for the Office of Industrial Relations, responsible for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office. He had regulatory responsibility for workers’ compensation matters and also the provision of policy advice on these matters. Simon was responsible for supporting a fair and productive industrial relations framework for the public sector in Queensland and providing advice to government on private sector industrial relations issues in Queensland.

Darren Kavanagh—Western Australia

Photo of Darren Kavanagh

Darren is the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner. Darren has more than 20 years’ experience in occupational safety and health across diverse high risk industries. Prior to this position, Darren worked with the Federal Department of Defence - Estate and Infrastructure Group. Over his 10 years at Defence, Darren’s roles included Risk and Compliance Manager for South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia and Work Health and Safety Manager.

In 2004, Darren served as a member of the Worksafe Commission for a period of four years and he also served on the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Board during this time.

Martyn Campbell—South Australia

Photo of Martyn Campbell

Martyn Campbell joined Safe Work Australia representing South Australia in November 2017. He is the Executive Director of SafeWork SA and brings to the board more than 30 years’ experience working in compliance, investigation and risk management at executive and senior executive levels in Australia and internationally. Martyn is passionate about providing guidance and support to businesses and workers to help them move beyond minimum regulatory compliance.

Martyn is a Certified Compliance Professional of the Government Risk and Compliance Institute and a Chartered OHS Professional with the Safety Institute of Australia.

Mark Cocker—Tasmania

Photo o Mark Cocker

Mark Cocker is the Chief Executive of WorkSafe Tasmania and WHS Regulator, Asbestos Compensation Commissioner and Competent Authority for Dangerous Goods.

He has held senior positions within the Tasmanian Department of Justice for the past 30 years in operational management, strategy, planning and regulatory roles.

Stephen Gelding—Northern Territory

Photo of Stephen Gelding

Stephen Gelding was appointed as the Northern Territory Member of Safe Work Australia in September 2014. He held the position of Executive Director of NT WorkSafe and the Northern Territory Work Health Authority from August 2014 to February 2019 and has over 35 years’ experience as a clinician and senior manager within the health and community services sector of the Northern Territory public service.

Stephen is currently the Director Occupational Licensing and Policy within Licensing NT and retains Safe Work Australia Membership to ensure Northern Territory interests continue to be represented.

Michael Young—Australian Capital Territory

Photo of Michael Young

Michael Young was appointed as a Safe Work Australia Member in May 2015. He is the Executive Group Manager of the ACT Government Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations office, where he is responsible for the Territory’s industrial relations, workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory frameworks.

Michael Young is a personal injury management professional with over 15 years’ experience in senior workers’ compensation and work safety regulatory roles. Michael plays an important role in delivering effective return to work and injury management services for the ACT Government.

Andrew Dettmer—Australian Council of Trade Unions

Photo of Andrew Dettmer

Andrew Dettmer became a Safe Work Australia Member in November 2012. He is National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, and before this was State Secretary of the Queensland/Northern Territory Branch from 2003–12. Andrew has been campaigning for safe and healthy workplaces at both a national and state level since 1988.

Andrew has held a number of board positions, including QMI Solutions, the Queensland Training and Employment Recognition Council, and Construction Skills Queensland. He was also Chair of Manufacturing Skills Queensland, and a nominee of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency. Andrew is a board member of the Australia Institute, Industry Capability Network Limited, TAFE Queensland and of Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad—the ACTU’s overseas aid arm.

Sophie Ismail—Australian Council of Trade Unions

Photo of Sophie Ismail

Sophie Ismail is a Legal and Industrial Officer for the ACTU. Sophie has experience in a range of roles providing legal and policy advice and representation to unions, workers and governments on employment, governance, discrimination and workplace health and safety matters.

Sophie has a Bachelor of Arts/Law from the University of Queensland and is completing a Master of Employment and Labour Relations Law from the University of Melbourne. Prior to working at the ACTU, her roles included Principal Lawyer at the Victorian Department of Education, a Senior Associate at Holding Redlich Lawyers and Senior Legal Officer at the Attorney-General’s Department.

James Pearson—Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Photo of James Pearson

James Pearson has served as a Safe Work Australia Member since November 2016. He leads Australia’s largest and most representative business network and has held senior roles in federal and state governments, led corporate affairs for large public companies, and supported his partner in their small family business.

James has served as a diplomat and trade negotiator, representing Australia in Africa, the Pacific and China. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

James wants to make our country the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs and opportunities to which they aspire.

Tracey Browne—Australian Industry Group

Photo of Tracey Browne

Tracey Browne is Manager, National Safety and Workers’ Compensation Policy and Membership Services for the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group). Tracey commenced her tenure as a Member in 2018 but has represented Ai Group on all of the agency’s Strategic Issues Groups since their inception.

Before joining Ai Group Tracey held senior positions within the manufacturing sector in Human Resources, WHS and workers’ compensation. Tracey holds a Bachelor of Business (Personnel Management), Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management, and a Master of Applied Science in OHS.

In her role with Ai Group Tracey provides advice and training to employers in WHS and workers’ compensation, across all Australian jurisdictions, and brings her broad range of practical knowledge to her representation role at a national and jurisdictional level.

Michelle Baxter—Chief Executive Officer, Safe Work Australia

Photo of Michelle Baxter

Michelle was appointed CEO of Safe Work Australia on 1 November 2015 for a five-year term. She had held the role for the previous two years.

Michelle brings more than 20 years of public sector experience to her positions as a Member of Safe Work Australia and its subsidiary committees, as a Commissioner of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and the Commonwealth member on the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council.

She has worked in many senior roles across the APS including as Group Manager in the former Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Group Manager responsible for agency change with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Group Manager, Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Taskforce with DEEWR.

Safe Work Australia Member meeting outcomes

During 2018–19 three Safe Work Australia Members’ meetings took place. Members also considered a range of matters out-of-session.

The key areas of work this year included considering the findings of the mid-term review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 (the Australian Strategy), approving the second tranche of varied model Codes of Practice and receiving regular updates and providing guidance on the review of the content and operation of the model WHS laws.

Safe Work Australia Members also provided regular updates on their current activities and issues related to quad bike safety and asbestos.

Significant outcomes include:

  • formally responding to the mid-term review of the Australian Strategy, including implementing the agreed response
  • supporting the independent reviewer, Marie Boland, in completing her Review of the model WHS laws
  • finalising the review, approval and publication of the remaining 13 model Codes of Practice as part of the technical and useability review of the model Codes
  • agreeing to a comprehensive occupational lung diseases work plan
  • agreeing to establish a national WHS prosecutions database
  • agreeing to review the workplace exposure standards and approving a robust health-based methodology to do so, and
  • development and endorsement of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030.

Safe Work Australia Strategic Issues Groups

Safe Work Australia has two committees known as Strategic Issues Groups (SIGs) to assist in the performance of its functions: SIG-WHS and SIG-Workers’ Compensation. These groups provide advice and recommendations to assist Safe Work Australia Members. Secretariat support for each SIG is provided by the agency. Each SIG is tripartite and reflects Safe Work Australia Membership.

Some of the matters considered at SIG meetings in 2018–19 included developing workplace guidance for endometriosis, and providing strategic oversight of the development of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030.

SIG-WHS

SIG-WHS assists Safe Work Australia in performing its functions with regard to WHS matters.

SIG-WHS met three times during 2018–19.

Table 1: SIG-WHS members as at 30 June 2019

Member

Membership

Mr Mark Cocker

Chair

Mr Adrian Breen

Commonwealth

Mr Andrew Gavrielatos

New South Wales

Ms Dmitry Rozkin

Victoria

Ms Andrea Fox

Queensland

Mr Ivor Roberts

Western Australia

Mr Glenn Farrell

South Australia

Ms Robyn Pearce

Tasmania

Mr Stephen Gelding

Northern Territory

Ms Ellen Lukins

Australian Capital Territory

Mr Liam O’Brien

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Dr Deborah Vallance

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Ms Jennifer Low

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ms Tracey Browne

Australian Industry Group

Ms Michelle Baxter

Safe Work Australia

SIG-Workers' Compensation

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

SIG-Workers’ Compensation met three times during 2018–19.

Table 2: SIG-Workers’ Compensation members as at 30 June 2019

Member

Membership

Mr Michael Young

Chair

Ms Kathryn Ries

Commonwealth

Ms Natalie Bekis

Comcare

Mr Darren Parker

New South Wales

Mr Shane O'Dea

Victoria

Ms Janene Hillhouse

Queensland

Mr Chris White

Western Australia

Mr Rob Cordiner

South Australia

Mr Mark Cocker

Tasmania

Ms Kerry Barnaart

Northern Territory

Ms Rebecca Parton

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 and Industry

Ms Tracey Browne

Australian Industry Group

Ms Anthea Raven

Safe Work Australia

SIG-Explosives

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

The committee did not meet during 2018–19 as the policy proposals the committee had been assisting with were with WHS ministers for decision.

In late 2018, WHS ministers in all jurisdictions agreed in-principle to consider implementing a nationally consistent explosives framework. As the work of the committee had concluded, the committee was dissolved.

Reference groups

Communication Reference Group

The Communication Reference Group (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 2018–19, 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.

Evidence Reference Group

The Evidence Reference Group (ERG) is a strategic forum that shares and collaborates on key evidence activities. The group consists of data and research professionals from across Safe Work Australia Member representatives, as well as representation from WorkSafe New Zealand.

Its role is to work collaboratively to identify, discuss and address key WHS and workers’ compensation evidence requirements and issues. In 2018–19, the agency engaged regularly with the group, which contributed to work on a range of issues including:

  • the development of a National Work Health and Safety Prosecutions Database
  • improvements to work-related fatality reporting, and
  • research on work-related musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung diseases.

The group helps to drive a nationally-coordinated and cooperative approach to promote the efficient and effective use of Australia’s data and research resources, in line with the Australian Strategy and the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030.

Other contributing roles

We provide support and representation on a number of important committees, and participate and provide advice in forums including:

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission

Commissioner – CEO, Michelle Baxter
Deputy Commissioner – General Counsel, Amanda Johnston

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission is a statutory body with regulatory functions relating to Comcare and other authorities that determine workers’ compensation claims under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme.

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities

Observer – CEO, Michelle Baxter

The Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) is a group comprising representatives of the jurisdictional bodies responsible for the regulation and administration of WHS in Australia and New Zealand. HWSA mounts national compliance campaigns targeted at specific industries. These campaign initiatives facilitate the development of consistent approaches to nationally recognised priorities.

Heads of Workers’ Compensation Authorities

Observer – CEO, Michelle Baxter

Heads of Workers’ Compensation Authorities (HWCA) is a group comprising representatives of the jurisdictional bodies responsible for the regulation and administration of workers’ compensation in Australia and New Zealand. HWCA promotes and implements best practice in workers’ compensation arrangements in the areas of policy and legislative matters, regulation and scheme administration.

Australian Forum of Explosive Regulators

Observer – Director, Chemicals Policy, Paul Taylor

The Australian Forum of Explosive Regulators (AFER) is a forum of government authorities responsible for administering explosives safety and security legislation in Australia. AFER’s key functions are to advise governments on all aspects of explosives safety regulation and provide recommendations on the development and implementation of nationally consistent legislation and safety and security standards.

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council

Commonwealth member – CEO, Michelle Baxter

Michelle Baxter is the Commonwealth Member of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council (ASEC). The agency provides input into the National Strategic Plan on Asbestos Awareness and Management and the overall work of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) through Ms Baxter’s role on the ASEC, and provides advice to ASEA on matters related to WHS as needed.

Asbestos Interdepartmental Committee

Representative – Acting Branch Manager, Hazards, Meredith Bryant
Representative – Director, Chemicals Policy, Paul Taylor

The Asbestos Interdepartmental Committee (Asbestos IDC) is a group comprising representatives of Commonwealth policy and supporting agencies. The Asbestos IDC was established to provide strategic direction to enable effective policy and regulatory coordination across Commonwealth agencies in managing asbestos issues across the supply chain.

Federal Safety Commissioner’s Australian Government Agency Reference Group

Representative – Acting Branch Manager, Hazards, Meredith Bryant

The Federal Safety Commissioner’s Australian Government Agency Reference Group (AGARG) was established to promote the sharing of information, facilitate feedback from client agencies and provide advice to the Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) on the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme and its operations. AGARG members are drawn from Commonwealth agencies and Commonwealth Corporate Entities that are major clients of the building and construction industry.

Quad Bike Interdepartmental Committee

Representative – Acting Branch Manager, Hazards, Meredith Bryant

The Quad Bike Interdepartmental Committee (Quad Bike IDC) was established in 2017 to identify and develop national initiatives to improve quad bike safety. In addition to Safe Work Australia, the Quad Bike IDC includes representatives of Commonwealth policy agencies with responsibilities or significant interest in quad bike safety (for example, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), as well as three state and territory WHS regulators nominated by HWSA.

G20 Occupational Safety and Health Expert Network

Representative – CEO, Michelle Baxter

The G20 Occupational Safety and Health Expert Network contributes to improving communication, coordination and information sharing between G20 countries in line with Ministerial Declaration and Leader expectations. The network facilitates greater communication among country experts, representatives of international organisations, businesses, and workers.

United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

Vice-Chair – Director, Chemicals Policy, Paul Taylor

Safe Work Australia is the lead agency for Globally Harmonized System (GHS) implementation in Australia and provides the Australian delegation on the subcommittee. The Australian delegation presents the agreed Australian Government position on chemicals issues in Australia. The current head of the Australian delegation, Paul Taylor, was appointed Vice-Chair of the UNSCEGHS in December 2018.

United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

The UNSCETDG aims to implement an internationally agreed system for the labelling, packaging and transportation of dangerous goods, through developing the UN’s Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Australia’s dangerous goods transport requirements align with the UN’s Model Regulations. We provide input to the Australian position on matters relevant to the GHS Sub-Committee.

Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

Member – CEO, Michelle Baxter

The Alliance seeks to partner with Australian employers to create mentally healthy workplaces for businesses and workers. The Alliance is developing a National Workplace Initiative for mental health which will include a range of resources for businesses and workers.

National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces – Reference Group

Reference Group Member – CEO, Michelle Baxter

The Australian Human Rights Commission launched the National Inquiry on 20 June 2018. The inquiry is being led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins. The inquiry is supported by the National Inquiry Reference Group, which provides strategic direction and advice to the National Inquiry.

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research

Advisory Board Member – CEO, Michelle Baxter

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research held its official launch at Parliament House on 31 October 2018. With an additional seven years’ funding from the Australian Research Council, the Centre will examine the challenges in creating good work for older workers, and seek to identify the kinds of work that preserve physical and mental capacity among older workers.

Feature story: Nationally consistent explosives framework

Each jurisdiction in Australia has its own system for regulating explosives.

Following a COAG directive in 2012, Safe Work Australia, through its SIG-Explosives, progressed reforms to provide greater national consistency in explosives laws across Australia.

The outcome of this work was a package of policy proposals which make recommendations to achieve national consistency in four key areas of explosives regulation: the definition of explosives, the explosives authorisation process, notification processes, and the licensing framework.

In late 2018, WHS ministers provided in-principle agreement to consider implementing the explosives reforms in their respective jurisdictions. This is an important milestone in moving towards national consistency in explosives regulation and improving the operating environment for businesses within the explosives industry.

Implementation of the reforms is the responsibility of the jurisdictions.

Timeline for process of nationally consistent regulating explosives. Oct 2016 WHS ministers agree to Decision RIS and progressing nationally consistent approaches to four key explosives reform areas. Dec 2016–Aug 2017 SIG-Explosives met to finalise policy proposals for the four reform areas. Dec 2017 SWA Members agreed to progress policy proposals to WHS ministers. Nov 2018 WHS ministers agreed to consider explosives reforms for implementation in jurisdictional explosives laws.

A word from the chair

Diane Smith-Gander AO, Chair, Safe Work Australia

This year will mark Safe Work Australia’s first decade in operation. As we pass this milestone we can be proud of our contribution to safer and healthier Australian workplaces knowing that statistics have shown a steady decline in workplace injuries and fatalities.

This is a big achievement in 10 years and highlights our influence at the front line of WHS and workers’ compensation policy development. The work we do to monitor and improve the model WHS laws impacts individuals and organisations throughout our country.

We strive to be a collaborative leader for WHS. Working in a federated system is a challenge. However, it is a challenge we embrace to reach clarity and harmony in regulation. We are proud to have built a unique ecosystem across multiple jurisdictions including regulators, industry, employee representatives, academics and service providers. Together, we work towards a common goal—to make Australian workplaces safer.

It is timely, in our 10th year to have released the Review of the model WHS laws: final report led by independent reviewer Marie Boland. The review found the model WHS laws are largely operating as intended. The 34 recommendations are with WHS ministers for consideration and I look forward working with Safe Work Australia Members and the agency to action their collective response. We are committed to reviewing the model WHS laws regularly to ensure they continue to work in practice and enhance the WHS framework.

One of our core functions is to develop and maintain national datasets, providing a strong evidence base to develop and inform WHS and workers’ compensation policy and practice.

This evidence base was central to the development of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030. With a national focus, the Strategy sets out a 10-year plan to minimise the impact of work-related injury and illness and to optimise a worker’s return to work. Workers are at the heart of the Strategy, they are the focus of its vision, outcomes and guiding principles.

Over the past year, we commenced a review into workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants to ensure the benchmark for exposure limits in Australia reflects the latest scientific knowledge and evidence. The feedback received from extensive consultation and peer review, and a strong evidence base will ensure the standards we set and maintain protect workers and meet the needs of contemporary Australian workplaces.

We are focusing on the future of WHS as much as we are leading safety today. We know the way we work in the coming years will be very different to the way we have worked in the past. In 2018, we collaborated with the CSIRO on the Workplace safety futures report. Over the next 20 years, we will see increased digitisation and automation, fluidity in employment patterns and structures, an ageing workforce with rising levels of stress and chronic disease. To meet these trends, it is important we are innovative and embrace new technologies, ways of thinking and working.

As we celebrate this milestone year, I honour the contributions of those who have helped instil and embed WHS culture into the Australian community.

We will continue to lead the Australian community as a strong, reliable authority on WHS and workers’ compensation into the next decade and beyond and I am proud to continue on this journey of making working lives safer and healthier for all Australians.

Diane Smith-Gander AO, signature

Diane Smith-Gander AO
Chair
Safe Work Australia

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