Prior to the Queensland election on 31 January 2015, the Australian Labor Party proposed a number of legislative changes that will affect employers. We briefly discuss these proposed changes below.
Within the first 100 days of attaining government, the ALP proposes to wind back the changes made by the LNP late last year to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld). The changes include:
- reinstating the right of health and safety representatives (HSRs) to direct the cessation of unsafe work; and
- removing the requirement for HSRs to give 24 hours’ notice before exercising right of entry to investigate suspected safety contraventions.
In relation to the workers’ compensation scheme, the ALP has stated that it will:
- reinstate workers’ rights to make a common law claim for all workplace injuries and remove the 5% whole of person impairment threshold; and
- remove the right of prospective employers to obtain access to a prospective employee’s workers’ compensation history.
The Labor Day public holiday is to be reinstated to the first Monday in May and the Queen’s Birthday public holiday is to be shifted to October.
An extra payroll tax rebate of 25% on the wages of all apprentices and trainees is proposed.
The ALP has also made some commitments to provide FIFO workers with access to mental health and support services.
There may also be changes to the approval criteria for newly proposed FIFO work sites.