Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Jack Gramenz

NSW SafeWork agency faces its first review

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello has announced a review of SafeWork NSW. (Flavio Brancaleone/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The operations, culture and governance of the NSW workplace health and safety regulator will be reviewed for the first time since the state's workers' compensation authority was split seven years ago.

Retired Supreme Court judge Robert McDougall will review SafeWork NSW, having previously reviewed Insurance and Care NSW (iCare) and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

The three agencies were created by the abolition of WorkCover in 2015.

Mr McDougall's previous reviews recommended one also be done into SafeWork.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello announced the review on Tuesday after avoiding committing to one when asked during a budget estimates hearing last month.

He says a review is now appropriate and will consider issues raised in recent weeks to provide insights to government.

"SafeWork NSW is the only one of those three entities that has not been independently reviewed since the reforms," Mr Dominello said.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann says SafeWork has a vital role protecting the health and safety of workers.

"It is important we ensure SafeWork NSW is performing its role as the state's workplace health and safety regulator as effectively as possible," she said.

Labor's work health and safety spokesperson Sophie Cotsis told AAP the review was an important step but 18 months too late.

"Now, with mounting pressure, the revelations that have been made about breaches not being followed up, the lack of inspectors ... the government has - five minutes to midnight - set up this review.

"We've had three ministers: Kevin Anderson, Eleni Petinos and Victor Dominello, who all shut down any scope of a review," she said.

Ms Cotsis recently outlined some of her concerns in a letter to Auditor-General Margaret Crawford, who is also conducting a performance audit , findings from which are not expected until late 2023.

Mr McDougall's review will look at the entity's operations, culture and governance.

Mr Dominello said Mr McDougall's review provided an opportunity to get started now and could more fully cover issues such as culture than was possible through the performance audit.

The terms of reference, timeline and submission process for the review are yet to be revealed but the government has promised further information to come.

Unions NSW says the government has presided over rolling scandals and crises since 2011 and is trying to buy political cover from an appalling record on support for injured and sick workers and workplace safety.

Secretary Mark Morey says the government has had plenty of time time to fix the issues.

"They don't fundamentally see it as a priority," he said in a statement to AAP.

"This is a cynical announcement made to muddy the waters before the 2023 state election."

SafeWork inspections were too rare, lacked enforcement powers, and pressure on inspectors meant injuries and fatalities were not being investigated, Mr Morey said.

"Reviews and investigations are pointless if the recommendations continue not to be implemented and the Perrottet government refuses to resource enforcement and prosecutions," he said.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.