WHS ACT 2011The Federal Government met with non-profit organisations to discuss new laws affecting volunteers and to find ways to eliminate the red tape involved with working with volunteers.

The meeting was held in Melbourne to discuss workplace health and safety issues with Workplace Relations minister Bill Shorten MP, representatives from Safe Work Australia and; the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations. Also included were a diverse group of representatives from various not-for-profit organisations.

An important revelation from the meeting is the plan to establish a group to oversee measures to cut red tape of working with volunteers. The plan is to have a group comprised of representatives from the not-for-profit sector, Volunteering Australia, Safe Work Australia, legal experts and various other industry representatives.

To add to these outcomes, the table of representatives discussed and agreed on various matters pertaining to volunteers, such as;

  •  Safety is of equal importance for volunteers as any other individual since everyone has a right to return home safe.
  • A volunteer’s duty has gone relatively unchanged when comparing it to what it was prior to the OHS Harmonisation laws.
  •  The penalties that would be used for extreme actions are based on already established state laws that existed prior to harmonisation.
  • Ongoing efforts to provide increased clarity of the harmonised law’s limited practical consequences for grassroots volunteers are most welcome.

Shorten stated that the Government encourages people to volunteer and support each other’s community. He alleges that the Government will provide “even more clear information and guidance to volunteers who play such an important role in [everyone’s] communities”

Source: http://thirdsectormagazine.com.au/news/new_measures_for_working_with_volunteers/065991/

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