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Industrial Court for Victoria: Safety Matters and Scope

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Aug 19, 2013 9:11:50 PM
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thumb_depositphotos_26522339_mMr. Simon Corbell, Attorney General of Victoria, made some amendments on the legislation on Canberra’s industrial court upon getting the feedback from the legal community. Corbell appeared to the Legislative Assembly to promote safety at workplace by endorsing the establishment of a legislative power of the Industrial Court.

He stated, “The Industrial Court will be able to hear and decide work safety matters and workers’ compensation claims up to $250,000, which is the current jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court.”

Mr. Corbell further noted, "The establishment of the Industrial Court will give a dedicated focus to these matters and allow the magistrate to develop particular expertise in the handling of what are often complex work safety matters or workers’ compensation matters."

Applying the expertise of the Industrial Court on legislating work health and safety laws proved to be fitting enough said the president of the ACT Law Society, Mr. Noor Blumer. Earlier, the proposed Industrial Court brought doubts to the minds of the ACT Law society on how will it operate. Nevertheless, the court could serve its purpose after all as according to them.

Safety at ACT worksites are now given importance and attention, as the CFMEU has welcomed the establishment of the Industrial Court. The labour unions specifically in the construction, forestry, mining and energy industries have welcomed the latest steps to establish it.

Dean Hall said the court rulings will help promote safety on local work sites. "What we need to do is get expertise in the area of workplace safety so we can send a message to the industries, in particular the building and construction industry," he said.

"What we need to do is get expertise in the area of workplace safety so we can send a message to the industries, in particular the building and construction industry," he said.

Ms. Blumer however shared his deviating views of establishing the legal responsibility of work safety to the Industrial court. "What hasn’t been addressed is the fact that this industrial magistrate or industrial court has all sorts of jurisdictions that is unprecedented in any other industrial court in any other court and territory,” Ms. Blumer said.

She added, "Industrial courts deal with industrial safety, so breaches of work safety acts, that’s what they do. Now they are criminal or quasi-criminal type offences and they are dealt with, with a certain burden of proof in a certain way. So for a person then to hear a common law claim or indeed arbitration in the same matter, it would be virtually impossible and would be legally improper.”

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