ACT WorkSafe response to the Boland Review released yesterday, 16 March 2023.
In March 2022, ACT WHS Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius, engaged Marie Boland to undertake a review of the current legislative, policy and operational framework used in the ACT to initiate, run and manage WHS prosecutions (the Boland Review).
The Boland Review was provided to WorkSafe ACT on 30 June 2022 and contained 12 recommendations, including recommendations that WorkSafe ACT establish an in-house prosecutions team to prosecute WHS matters and be able to use external counsel to obtain advice on prosecution matters rather than solely relying on approval from the Chief Solicitor of the ACT.
Currently, WHS prosecutions are undertaken by the DPP and they hold the independent decision making power to prosecute WHS matters. As it currently stands, WorkSafe ACT cannot influence, direct, or review any prosecutorial decisions made regarding WHS matters by the DPP.
WorkSafe ACT did not support the recommendation that it establish an in house prosecutions team but suggested that a hybrid model be introduced whereby the WorkSafe ACT Commissioner be allowed to seek prosecution advice from external counsel and engage an external prosecutor to progress WHS prosecutions, amongst other things. Current legislation prevents the WHS Commissioner from seeking external counsel advice or engaging external counsel to conduct WHS prosecutions without Chief Solicitor approval.
The decision of whether or not to implement the Boland Report recommendations lies with the ACT Government.