From 1 January 2013 South Australia's work health and safety legislation mirrors the legislation in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, ACT, Northern Territory and the Commonwealth. In the long term, the Government hopes that nationally harmonised work health and safety laws will reduce red tape and compliance costs for businesses that operate across state borders. It will also provide workers with the same protections and safety standards as well as recognising their licensing and training nationally.

The key principles of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) are consistent with long established and familiar occupational health and safety standards. From 1 January 2013 the Act:

  • establishes health and safety duties, including the primary duty to protect any person from exposure to hazards and risks that arise from work
  • provides for worker representation, consultation and participation including through Health and Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Committees
  • enables compliance and enforcement through SafeWork SA, the regulator, and
  • provides for the creation of regulations and Codes of Practice.

The legislation applies to all workplaces in South Australia, and the legislation regards churches are as workplaces.  Parish Councils will need to take appropriate steps to ensure they comply with the requirements.