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Summary of positive outcomes from the WA State Labor Conference

The overriding outcomes from the WA Labor State Conference were incredibly positive. Decisions made and policies announced by the WA State government will make significant differences to working people in our State.

May Holman honoured

The McGowan government will be renaming 189 Royal Street, East Perth, the May Holman Building in honour of this trailblazing politician.

May Holman was the first woman from the Labor Party to be elected to an Australian Parliament, and is widely credited with introducing some of the first pieces of worker health and safety legislation anywhere in the world.

She won the State seat of Forrest, centred on Dwellingup, five times and served 14 years in State Parliament.

May’s life was tragically cut short as a result of a car crash the day before the 1939 State election. She survived only until the following Monday, May was informed that she had been re-elected – two hours later she passed away.

May Holman was deeply committed to improving society – she advocated for workers and their families alike. In 1926 she introduced the Timber Industry Act, which legislated to improve the living and working conditions of men employed at timber mills across Western Australia.

A former government-owned building that bore May’s name was renamed Golden Square in 2015 when purchased by a private company.

$12.9 million investment in workplace health and safety

Industrial Manslaughter Laws: In recent times, there have been disturbing reports about workplace deaths and the relatively light fines imposed on companies as a result of these accidents.To strengthen Western Australia’s workplace safety laws, the McGowan Government will introduce a new Work Health and Safety Bill that will modernise workplace safety laws, better protect workers and hold accountable those responsible for any workplace deaths.

One of the main features of the legislation is the introduction of two new offences of industrial manslaughter:

  • Industrial manslaughter class one: the most serious offence, this includes a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment for an individual conducting or undertaking a business.
  • Industrial manslaughter class two: this includes a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for negligent behaviour.

The new offences will also carry a fine of up to $10 million for a body corporate.

Worksafe: An additional 24 full time equivalent staff, including 21 additional inspectors, will be employed by WorkSafe. This will bring the total number of inspectors to 120 and provide much improved capacity for safety inspections, the enforcement of workplace safety standards and more education and awareness.

These inspectors will investigate fatal and serious incidents,. There will also be inspectors with expertise in industrial and regional cases and service industries.

There will be new worker safety campaign called Better Worker Safety to put safety at front of mind and improve workplace safety and health outcomes in Western Australia.

Return of privatised services to public hands benefits customers and saves taxpayers money

The McGowan Labor Government will bring operations and maintenance of the Water Corporation’s water, wastewater and drainage networks in the Perth and Mandurah region back in-house. This is 25 years after services were privatised by the then Liberal Government.

A recent review by the Water  Corporation Board determined that in-sourcing would be the best model for the future. This is consistent with the way the services are delivered by the Water Corporation in all other parts of the State.

The new approach is expected to deliver estimated savings for taxpayers of $2-3 million per year, provide 250 workers with more secure employment and deliver a more streamlined customer interaction.