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Unions support new offence of industrial manslaughter

Queensland unions have welcomed the state government’s move to create the new offence of industrial manslaughter to deter negligent employers who operate unsafe workplaces.

The new offence is one of 58 recommendations from a wide-ranging review into workplace deaths, to which unions made numerous submissions.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said this new offence would be a deterrent to make sure that companies don’t cut corners and put profits ahead of people.

Last year in Queensland there were 40 workplace fatalities notified to authorities.

“There’s nothing more important than workers coming home safe after a day’s work,” said Ms McLennan.

“We have long called for tougher offences to make sure that dodgy bosses and their companies don’t just get a slap on the wrist if their negligent actions have led to a workplace fatality,” she said.

Under the proposed laws introduced into State Parliament last night, the maximum penalty for industrial manslaughter will be 20 years imprisonment for an individual, with a maximum fine of $10 million for a corporate offender.

After these laws are passed Queensland will be the first state in Australia to have industrial manslaughter laws. The Australian Capital Territory also has similar laws.