On 5 April 2017, the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, announced that a best practice review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) should be undertaken in response the tragic fatalities at Dreamworld and an Eagle Farm worksite in 2016.
Under the terms of reference for the review, the reviewer was asked to consider WHSQ's effectiveness in light of contemporary regulatory practice. This included reviewing all WHSQ's functions including inspections, investigations, prosecutions, enforceable undertakings, research, strategy and policy development, information and education and awareness campaigns. The review also considered specific issues such as whether an offence of 'gross negligence causing death' should be introduced and whether current penalty levels under the work health and safety laws act as a sufficient deterrent to non-compliance.
The review and subsequent recommendations specifically considered:
- the appropriateness of WHSQ's Compliance and Enforcement Policy
- the effectiveness of WHSQ's compliance regime, enforcement activities, and dispute resolution processes
- WHSQs effectiveness in relation to providing compliance information and promoting work health and safety awareness and education
- the appropriateness and effectiveness of the administration of public safety matters by WHSQ
- any further measures that can be taken to discourage unsafe work practices, including the introduction a new offence of gross negligence causing death as well as increasing existing penalties for work-related deaths and serious injuries.
An independent reviewer, Mr Tim Lyons, was appointed by the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs to undertake the best practice review and to consider and report on any potential measures, both operational and legislative, that could be taken to address the matters raised in the terms of reference. The reviewer was supported by a tripartite reference group which provided commentary and advice on the matters to be considered as part of the review.
The Government received the report from Mr Lyons which made 58 recommendations, the majority of which relate to operational improvements for WHSQ or the WHS Board.
Read the Best practice review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland final report (PDF, 2.18 MB)
The recommendations were supported in full by the Government except for two that have been referred to the WHS Board for further consideration. On 22 August 2017 the Government introduced an amendment bill to Parliament to implement the legislative recommendations arising from the Review.
The Compliance monitoring and enforcement policy has been developed in response to the best practice review of Work Health and Safety Queensland.