Bracks Govt amends manslaughter laws

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Bracks Govt amends manslaughter laws

The Victorian Government has proposed amendments to its industrial manslaughter legislation being debated in Parliament today, which would see Ministers being held ultimately responsible for workplace deaths across the public sector.

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The Victorian Government has proposed amendments to its industrial manslaughter legislation being debated in Parliament today, which would see Ministers being held ultimately responsible for workplace deaths across the public sector.

Victorian employers have long objected to the legislation, saying the penalties of five-year jail terms for directors and a $5 million fine for companies where a serious injury or death occurs are too high, and have asked why Ministers should not be held responsible.

An advice prepared by the Victorian Law Reform Commission for the Bracks Government confirmed that Premier Steve Bracks and his Cabinet would be unlikely to be found guilty of offences under the legislation.

A spokesperson for Attorney-General Rob Hulls told WorkplaceInfo the Government would accordingly be moving amendments to the Crimes (Workplace Deaths and Serious Injuries) Bill to ensure the entire public service, including ministers, was covered. He said the Government expects the amended Bill to pass through the Lower House later tonight.

It will then be debated in the Upper House next week, where it is set for defeat, with Opposition Leader Dennis Napthine today reaffirming his stance against the Bill (see 111/2002).

He told a gathering on the steps of Parliament House the Bill was flawed, as innocent people could be jailed, and said the Opposition would work on a policy before the looming State election to reduce injuries and deaths.

The crowd included the parents of a 21-year-old killed at work 15 years ago when an aluminium furnace exploded. They asked Napthine why he was opposing the laws, saying families were continuing to experience the devastation they had.

Construction workers also rallied today, outside the Melbourne hearing rooms of the Cole Royal Commission into the building and construction industry, in memory of a worker who died last week.

 

 
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