Unionists back new safety law

Issue 

BY CHRIS SLEE

MELBOURNE — One thousand shop stewards and health and safety representatives came together on August 23 for a meeting called by the Victorian Trades Hall Council in support of the state Labor government's planned industrial manslaughter legislation.

The proposed new law would impose penalties on companies of up to $5 million for corporate manslaughter (death caused by corporate negligence) and up to $2 million for serious injury. It would also allow company officers to be jailed for up to five years for their role in corporate manslaughter, and up to two years for their role in causing injury.

Current laws are grossly inadequate. The meeting was addressed by Jan Carrick, mother of 18-year-old Anthony Carrick, who was killed when a factory wall known to be unstable fell over. The company was fined $50,000, but went into liquidation and did not pay. The managing director then set up a new company doing similar work.

The meeting passed a motion calling on all members of parliament to support the legislation, and urging Premier Steve Bracks' government not to weaken it. VTHC secretary Leigh Hubbard said that much larger rallies will be held if the legislation is obstructed by the Coalition parties.

After the meeting, participants marched to Parliament House where they were addressed by two state Labor ministers.

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