12:36 pm, Sunday 4 December, 2011
The Tasmanian Parliament voted to delay the commencement of the Occupational Health and Safety Harmonisation laws for a year. The Parliament’s decision to delay the implementation of the OHS laws follows that of Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
Majority won with 11-3 votes to postpone discussions of the bill until March 2012. The OHS harmonisation law which aims to harmonise state and federal workers laws on safety was introduced in April 2011.
Since its conception, the OHS harmonisation laws which is said to take effect on January 1, 2012 has been the point of debate of different sectors. Opposition’s finance spokesman Rob Lucas, in a media release in September, said that the Housing Industry Association (HIA) have estimated that the new laws will increase costs by “approximately $20,000 for a double story construction.” Other sectors expressed their support to the harmonisation, saying that it would provide unions more power in addressing safety and health issues in the workplace.
Senator Eric Abetz expressed his concern over the OHS Harmonisation laws saying that the Labour party should delay its commencement for another year to truly assess whether true harmonisation can take place.