21st February 2024 12:02
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan) (12:01): 

My question is for the Minister for WorkSafe and the TAC, represented by the Leader of the Government, Minister Symes. It has long been established that psychological workplace hazards are no less harmful to employees than physical hazards. In 2021 the Victorian government announced that new psychological health regulations for Victorian employees were being developed and were expected to be released in that same year.

According to the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, following the completion of public consultation the government has since been:

… “considering options for the development of” … regulations.

I ask the minister: what is the status of these considerations?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:02): 

I thank Mr Ettershank for his question for Minister Pearson in the WorkSafe–TAC capacity. As you know, that is an area where there is a lot of work going on.

I would like to thank members from this chamber that have been involved in parliamentary committees considering similar topics, and I am sure that Minister Pearson’s office will prepare a thorough answer to Mr Ettershank’s question.

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan) (12:03): 

I thank the Attorney for her assistance in this matter. By way of supplementary, Victoria was the first state in Australia to announce the development of psychosocial regulations for the workplace, but it is now the only state in Australia yet to implement those vital reforms.

So my question is: when can we expect to see these regulations released?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:03): 

I will add Mr Ettershank’s second question to the first for Minister Pearson.

[Answer Pending]

Written Answer
Received: 28 February 2024
Hon. Danny Pearson
(Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for WorkSafe and the TAC)

Under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health and safety of workers – this includes risks to psychological health.

The Allan Labor Government recognises that hazards posing a risk to psychological health are no less harmful to workers’ safety and wellbeing than physical hazards. This is why the Government has committed to implementing psychological health regulations to strengthen Victoria’s occupational health and safety framework.

Getting the design of these regulations right is critical and Government has been consulting with key stakeholders, including employee and employer representatives, industry experts, medical and allied professionals, legal practitioners, and persons of lived experience.

That’s why we have previously released an exposure draft of the proposed regulations and regulatory impact statement for public consultation, why we are committed to providing practical guidance to employers on their obligations to protect workers from mental injury, and why the Allan Labor Government will deliver on our commitment to strengthen the regulatory approach to psychological health hazards.


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