The Morrison Government has been dragging its heels on appointments to the national body for work safety, as factories burn and people are killed or injured at work.
The Safe Work Australia board is currently only at three-quarter capacity, with appointments of working people’s representatives, as well as from Western Australia, stalled with Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer since February.
The ACTU has nominated industrial officer and lawyer Sophie Ismail and AMWU President Andrew Dettmer to the body, and the Western Australian Government has nominated state Health and Safety Commissioner Darren Kavanagh.
During that same time the Morrison Government has made numerous statutory appointments to other government bodies, including contentious appointments of people with close connections to the Liberal and National Parties.
The Morrison Government has also cut back on the number of meetings conducted by the body, from five a year to three.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien:
“We need functioning regulators to make sure this happens.
“But the Morrison Government has deliberately chosen to keep the highest regulatory body in the country under-strength with only three-quarters of the required board members.
“People are being injured and killed at work, factories full of dangerous chemicals are burning, but the Morrison Government doesn’t consider our safety at work a priority.
“A landmark review of our laws has recommended sweeping changes, including nationally uniform model industrial manslaughter laws and the Morrison Government can’t even sign a piece of paper to make board appointments.
“The sooner we can change the Federal Government the safer people working across Australia will be.”