WHSAC Communique February 2021

Functions of the Council

The Work Health and Safety Advisory Council (the Council) conducted its first meeting of 2021.

The Council is established under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act) to review the operation of the legislation and to make recommendations to the Minister on possible changes to the administration of the Act or standards of work health and safety in the Northern Territory.

The Council consists of persons representing employers and employees in industries such as construction, mining, resource, local government, entertainment / tourism, including union representation and the person constituting the Authority under the Work Health Administration Act 2011.

The Council was appointed in June 2020 for a two year period and includes five new members and five members who were reappointed from the previous Council. Membership and contact details are published on the NT WorkSafe website. Industries are encouraged to contact Council members to submit items regarding possible improvements to work health and safety across the Northern Territory.

The Work Health and Safety Advisory Council met on 16 February 2021.

The following items were discussed:

Information around prosecutions under section 34B

Discussions were made by the council in relation to sending a message out to PCBUs informing them that they can now be charged with industrial manslaughter. Ideas were put to the council by their members on how they could get the message across effectively.

It was suggested by the Work Health Authority that the DPP would be invited to give a presentation at the next council meeting on Industrial Manslaughter.

Mining and agriculture site visits by location 2019-2020

The council wanted to know how many site visits were conducted by NT WorkSafe between 2019 and 2020, this was to ensure there was enough reasourses available.

The Regulator advised the council that, NT WorkSafe is committed to having a forward program for proactive visits and it was discussed that a representative from NT WorkSafe would be in a position to present program to council in the future.

Recommendations from the Lyons Review

An Injured Workers and Family Forum subcommittee (the subcommittee) has been established in conjunction with the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council to consider two of the recommendations from the Review of workplace health and safety in the Northern Territory. The subcommittee is scheduled to meet on 22 September 2020, the outcomes of which will be provided to the Council.

Cancellation of high risk licenses

The question around how many high risk licences were cancelled between 2019-2020 was raised. This question was taken on notice and the answer would be provided to the Council out of session.

The structure of the National Compliance and Enforcement Policy pyramid and why Infringement Notices are at a higher bar than EU’s.

The council sought clarification on infringement notices vs Enforceable undertakings.


The Work Health Authority gave the Council an overview on the current prosecutions. Council also discussed a number of matters currently under investigation.

Other business

The council raised the possibility of creating a Strategic Plan to address culture and education issues within the workplace.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 24 May 2021.