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Australian Government Introduces Industrial Manslaughter Bill

The government has introduced a new bill in Victoria that could see companies prosecuted for Industrial manslaughter. Victoria is the third jurisdiction in Australia to introduce the bill which will be part of the existing Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and will apply to employers, self-employed individuals and officers. 

The offence is aimed at conduct that is criminally negligent and unlike laws introduced in Queensland, the Victorian bill will apply to deaths of workers and members of the public making it much broader. The offence could cover situations where negligence causes an injury or illness to someone who later dies and could even apply to suicide following an employer’s careless conduct. Companies are now under even more pressure to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees as charges could result in fines of up to $16.5 million (100,000 penalty units) or 20 years’ imprisonment. 

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