Media Releases

SafeWork review must return a strong 'cop on the beat' for workers

September 21, 2022

Today the State Government has announced the appointment of John Merritt as the independent reviewer into SafeWork SA.

SA Unions called on government to commence this review back in August, unions are pleased to see the State Government acting on what South Australian workers want.

The 6.5 million cut to SafeWork SA’s budget by the Marshall Liberal government resulted in 3,600 fewer workplace inspections a year (23%), this is an appalling outcome for workers. SafeWork SA can't do its job unless it's properly funded and structured.

The recent inclusion of regulations for psychological injury will require SafeWork SA to evolve and adapt to be effective at keeping workers safe, not just physically, but safe from psychological harm at work as well. SA Unions call on Mr Merritt to ensure that the management of psychological injury is central to any recommendations.

"After years of deliberate cuts to SafeWork SA, it's clear that we need to rebuild the regulator to do its job and actively make workplaces safer."

"SafeWork SA needs to be resourced and structured to enable inspectors to be cops on the beat to prevent incidents, rather than trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube."

"SafeWork SA inspectors are stretched so thin that they can't investigate everything they need to, South Aussie workers need to know that when they report something unsafe, it'll get looked at, their lives depend on it."

"When bosses cut corners on safety, they're gambling that the cost of doing the right thing is higher than if something goes wrong. For some employers, this gamble has been too tempting, the penalties aren't big enough and there's not enough 'cops on the beat.'"