October is National Safe Work Month. This is when businesses across Australia, dedicate time to have a SafeTea and start a conversation, committing to a healthy and safe workplace. Cuppa anyone?
The aim is to ensure employers and employees connect, having conversations that focus on creating working environments that are free from physical and psychological harm. To support National Safe Work Month, we are sharing an update from the NSW Government on how we're supporting Safework NSW to make it easier for businesses and customers to follow health and safety legislation.
The NSW Government is transforming licensing and regulation through the eRegulation strategy, supported by the Digital Restart Fund (DRF). It aims to create the world's easiest and secure digital regulatory experiences for NSW customers. There are two programs under the eRegulation strategy, the Licensing Program and the Complaints, Compliance and Enforcement (CCE) Program.
A key element to protecting workers and communities, is the licensing of occupations across the state. So far, the Licensing Program has delivered a range of innovative products, including digital trade licences for contractors, high risk work, and white cards. It has also digitised the application processes for plant item registration and for asbestos and demolition removal and assessors.
Digitising Trade Licences is a joint initiative across Service NSW, Government Technology Platforms, and the Better Regulation Division. It enables trade licences to be issued in digital form, which can be lawfully used in NSW and makes them accessible through the Service NSW mobile app.
Digital licences are a quick, secure way to display credentials that health and safety training has been undertaken. It also makes it easier to manage licence expiries, ensuring tradespeople across NSW remain certified. Currently, five trade licences are available, including white card and high risk work licences which focus on ensuring appropriately trained people are undertaking safe activities on building and construction sites.
Another essential tool for the protection of public safety, is access to licence details on public registers. This provides NSW citizens clarity and confidence that the tradespeople they hire are appropriately licensed for the job. A new one-stop public register, verify.licence, is currently in a trial phase for some licences. Through verify.licence, NSW customers will have the ability to search licence records or business registrations for trade-related licences, including white cards and high risk work licences, which were previously not available on the former public register.
NSW customers can use this enhanced public register to check for asbestos and demolition providers, owner builder permits, conveyancer licences, motor, property, registered surveyors, security licences, vessel registrations, traffic control work cards, and charitable fundraising organisations.
The Licensing Program has already delivered a win for the construction industry, one of the highest risk sectors in the state, where the movement of plant items can cause serious injuries on work sites.
A new digital plant item registration process was launched earlier this year, accessed through the MyServiceNSW account. This makes it easier for industry to comply with health and safety obligations when registering equipment such as cranes, lifts, escalators, boilers, and pressure vessels.
In addition, the Complaints, Compliance & Enforcement (CCE) Program supports the NSW Government's objective to deliver a whole- of- government digital regulatory solution that creates a connected and seamless experience for businesses, regulators, and the government.
Not only will the CCE Program introduce a new case management system to transform agencies to more customer-centric regulatory practices, but it will also fund the enhancement of the Service for Business Profiles. This includes a feature to help businesses track licences, such as sub-contractor or employee licences, to save time on their compliance obligations. It is estimated that the current costs for businesses across NSW to comply with Federal, State and Local government regulations cost $3.9 billion per annum.
The Digital Restart Fund (DRF) has supported the eRegulation strategy and subsequent projects, by investing more than $150 million over four years. When delivered in full, the Licensing Program is estimated to deliver $540 million in benefits to customers largely through time savings. Similarly, when delivered at full scale, the CCE Program, is expected to deliver $548 million in benefits to businesses, over the next ten years.
If you want to learn more about the eRegulation strategy, join us at the Digital.NSW 2022 Showcase on 30 November at Randwick Racecourse where it will be a featured case study. You can hear more about this from Executive Director Reece Clementi who'll be presenting on the day.
To learn more about National Safe Work Month or to access resources to start a conversation at your workplace, visit the National Safe Work Month | Safe Work Australia website today.