Review of the model WHS laws

Work health and safety (WHS) ministers asked us to review the model WHS laws in 2018. The central findings were that the model WHS laws are largely operating as intended.  

Ministers responsible for WHS asked Safe Work Australia to review the content and operation of the model WHS laws in 2018. Safe Work Australia appointed independent reviewer, Ms Marie Boland, to conduct the Review. The Review of the model WHS laws: Final report was provided to WHS ministers in December 2018 and published by Safe Work Australia on 25 February 2019.  

Review findings 

The Review found the model WHS laws largely operate as intended. The final report included 34 recommendations to improve clarity and consistency, including undertaking further review and analysis in certain areas. 

Regulatory impact assessment 

The recommendations are subject to a regulatory impact assessment  process, in accordance with the Council of Australian Governments best practice regulation guidelines. This process ensures WHS ministers are informed about the likely impacts of each option.  

The regulatory impact assessment process has two steps: 

  1. Undertake a consultation regulation impact statement (Consultation RIS) with stakeholders that may be affected by the recommendations. 

  1. Prepare a decision regulation impact statement (Decision RIS) for WHS ministers reflecting the feedback and evidence received during the consultation. 

Safe Work Australia released a Consultation RIS on 24 June 2019, seeking comments on the recommendation of the Review. Consultations were open for a six-week period until 5 August 2019. Submissions can be viewed at Safe Work Australia’s Engage page.    

 In December 2019 Safe Work Australia provided a Decision RIS to WHS ministers for their consideration. 

On 20 May 2021 WHS ministers convened to discuss a range of WHS issues including the Review. Agreement was reached for action on all of the 34 recommendations of the Review. The Attorney General’s Department prepared a communiqué summary  of the meeting.  

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