Industrial manslaughter laws around Aust

Rebecca Gredley

1. Are industrial manslaughter laws the same around Australia?

No. The Commonwealth has model work health and safety laws which the states and territories can mirror, but they don't have to.

2. What will the laws be in Queensland?

They will hold corporations and negligent individuals responsible for the death of any workers. The maximum penalty will be life imprisonment for individuals and $10m for corporations.

3. Is industrial manslaughter a crime in other states and territories?

* The ACT is the only other jurisdiction where industrial manslaughter is a specific offence, with a maximum penalty for an individual of 20 years' jail and $1.25m for corporations. They can also be ordered to undertake community projects of up to $5m.

* NSW has penalties of up to $825,000 for a corporation under occupational health and safety laws. In 2003 parliament considered making industrial manslaughter an offence, but it didn't become law.

* In Victoria it's an offence where a person recklessly engages in conduct that may put another person in the workplace in danger of serious injury. The maximum penalty for individuals is five years' jail or $920,250 for corporations.

* West Australian employer's fail their duty of care if, by gross negligence, an employee dies or is seriously harmed. In March this year the Greens called for a change to the state's criminal code that would hold employers responsible for the death of a worker.

4. Are there any states or territories that don't have industrial manslaughter laws?

Yes - South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

In February 2016 Greens introduced a bill to SA parliament which would make employers liable for causing the death of a worker due to negligence and indifference. The proposed penalties were fines up to $1m or 20 years jail.

5. Could this all change?

Yes - work health and safety laws across the country will be reviewed next year.