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This article appeared in the Australian Work Health and Safety Tracker - Archive (2010-2013)
Safe Work Australia and Fair Work Australia face the chop

Safe Work Australia and Fair Work Australia could be abolished under an Abbott Government, Finance and Deregulation Minister Penny Wong claims.

Referring to information published by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Ms Wong asserted that the Opposition could make savage cuts if elected into government.

The list of possible cuts, which was reportedly prepared in consultation with the Liberals, classifies Safe Work Australia and Fair Work Australia as unproductive and “surplus to need”.

Safe Work Australia is listed as having 110 surplus staff.

Fair Work Australia is listed as having 343 surplus staff, while the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work industry inspectorate are listed as having 753 and 155 surplus staff respectively.

“All of these add nothing and in the case of the ‘Fair Work’ agencies clearly contribute to lower productivity”, the list published by IPA states.

The potential abolishment of Safe Work Australia leaves the status and future of harmonised work health and safety (WHS) laws unclear. Safe Work Australia is currently the national policy body that develops and evaluates the effectiveness of the new WHS laws and codes of practice.

Abolishing Fair Work agencies also hints at a planned return to WorkChoices, Ms Wong said.

Ms Wong urged the Opposition Leader to “come clean with Australians” if he isn't considering the cuts.

Ms Wong’s statement can be read here (IPA’s list attached).

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