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Industrial Relations, Political

Poll shows overwhelming support to criminalise industrial manslaughter in NSW

Unions NSW 2 mins read
As the NSW Parliament considers new laws that would see industrial manslaughter attract a 25 year gaol term, new polling shows overwhelming support for the reform, especially in regional and rural NSW.

***The polling will be released at a rally of unions and advocates this morning at Martin Place, between Macquarie Street and Phillip Street from 0830.***

NSW is the last mainland state without an industrial manslaughter offence. Since the Parliament last considered a private member’s bill to deal with industrial manslaughter more than 125 people have died.

Pyxis Polling & Insights interviewed 2,040 NSW voters between 9-15 May 2024, finding over two-thirds (68%) of respondents support NSW Labor’s plan to introduce industrial manslaughter as a specific offence. Only 9% oppose the legislation, while 23% remain undecided.

“When a worker doesn’t return home it is a life-altering trauma for their loved ones,” Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said. “The people of New South Wales want corporations and CEOs held accountable for workplace deaths. It is simply unacceptable that workers continue to lose their lives due to negligent and unsafe practices. Industrial manslaughter laws will deliver justice for victims and their families."

The survey reveals widespread support for the legislation crosses social, political and geographic divides, with 70% of men and 65% of women in favour. Regional areas showed higher support at 70%, compared to 66% in metropolitan Sydney. Among Coalition supporters, 62% back legislation while support is even higher among Labor voters (72%), Greens (76%) and Other voters (67%).

An overwhelming majority - 76 per cent - were surprised NSW doesn’t already have specific laws on Industrial Manslaughter already. 

“The fact more than three quarter of voters were unaware industrial manslaughter is not currently a specific crime in NSW highlights the urgent need for change,” Morey said. “All members of parliament should listen to community concern and pass these laws."

NSW voters also support proposed penalties, with 62% of respondents saying they are appropriate. Even when informed that the financial penalties would be higher than any other state, 59% remained comfortable with NSW having tougher penalties. And 61% said there should be no statute of limitations.

More than one third of voters (36%) said they would be less likely to support their local MP if they opposed the laws.

Safe Work Australia figures show 51 workers died in NSW in 2022 – the highest nationally.

Unions NSW analysis of Safe Work data shows that for the past decade NSW has lost at least one worker a week in a workplace fatality - higher than any other state in the country.

State

Total (2013-2022)

Average per week

QLD

451

0.867307692

VIC

380

0.730769231

NT

44

0.084615385

WA

252

0.484615385

SA

140

0.269230769

NSW

553

1.063461538

TAS

57

0.109615385

ACT

8

0.015384615

FED

1885

3.625




Legislation will be considered by the NSW Parliament in the week beginning June 3. In addition to jail terms of up to 25 years, civil penalties of up to $20 million will also apply. 

Contact: Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032 



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