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Feedback sought on NT amendments to introduce industrial manslaughter

Date: 
Tuesday, 1 October, 2019 - 11:15
Category: 
Policy & legislation
Location: 
Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Government is seeking comments and feedback on the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 which will introduce the new offence of industrial manslaughter.

The proposed industrial manslaughter offence will ensure all businesses, regardless of the business size, face the same level of penalty if reckless or negligent conduct has caused a workplace fatality, according to the NT Government.

Currently, individuals can be charged with manslaughter for a workplace fatality under the Northern Territory’s Criminal Code.

This means an individual operating a small business as a sole trader, in a partnership or trustee of a trust can face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

There is no equivalent penalty for a body corporate under the Criminal Code and the maximum fine currently for a body corporate under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 is $3 million for a Category 1 offence.

The introduction of industrial manslaughter is also a key recommendation from the Best practice review of workplace health and safety in the NT conducted by Tim Lyons.

It is also a recommendation in the report Review of the model WHS laws, a national review commissioned by Safe Work Australia.

Under the Bill, the maximum penalty for an individual is imprisonment for life whether the individual is prosecuted under the existing or new manslaughter offence.

For a body corporate, the maximum penalty is 65,000 penalty units, $10,075,000 under 2019-20 penalty unit rate.

Submissions should be sent to EPSC@nt.gov.au by close of business Tuesday 8 October 2019 and information on the inquiry into the Bill can be found on the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory website.