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'Historic moment' as NSW passes industrial manslaughter laws

An industrial manslaughter bill has been passed in NSW, the last mainland state to make gross negligence in the workplace an offence.

More than 300 workers have been killed in the state since 2019.

The new law lets prosecutors hold a business or individual responsible for death due to gross negligence in the workplace. The maximum penalties will be 25 years’ jail for an individual and a $20 million fine for a company – the highest in Australia.  

Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis says it is a “historic moment” for worker safety. 

“These are not laws we ever want to use. We want them to act as a deterrent and a reminder that this government takes worker safety seriously,” she said. 

“Unsafe practices will not be tolerated. It is a fundamental right of every worker to go to work and come home safely.” 

Family and Injured Workers Support and Advisory Group member Dave White says the industrial manslaughter bill is long-awaited and introduces an “additional and significant deterrent”.   

“This passing of the bill may save other families from having to endure the grief and pain of losing someone who never came home from work,” he said.