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Harmonisation monies withheld from Western Australia

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Western Australian Government has lashed out at the Federal Government over its threat to withhold millions of dollars from states that fail to implement national occupational health and safety laws.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she is actively considering withholding reward payments from states that resist the changes.

The Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten says such action would be fair, as incompatible laws are costing Australian businesses tens of millions of dollars a week.

"How on earth can a national business in Australia be expected to be as successful as it can be, if it has to every time it crosses a state border speak a new language in occupational health and safety regulation," he said.

"We call upon the West Australian and Victorian governments in particular to join the national economy."

But the WA Minister for Commerce and Small Business Simon O'Brien says the Federal Government's timetable for change has been unreasonable.

"Look I'm quite amazed by this latest threat from Canberra because they're the ones that have consistently failed to meet their own deadlines on the way towards harmonisation," he said.

"I object to them using their own incompetence as an excuse to threaten us over money.

Mr O'Brien says the state has not been able to act because its still waiting on the Federal Government to provide its complete package of reforms.

"The Federal Government still hasn't provided the full package of laws to us," he said.

Source:  ABC News


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