The ACT Industrial Court arose as a result of one of the recommendations from the 2011 report, Getting Home Safely - Inquiry into Compliance with Work Health and Safety Requirements in the ACT’s Construction Industry. The inquiry was established to look into workplace safety after a number of concerns in Canberra’s construction sector were identified.
Commencement and jurisdiction
The Court was established by the Magistrates Court Act 1930 (‘the Act’) and commenced on 8 November 2013. On 28 November 2013 Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker was appointed for four years as the Industrial Court Magistrate.
The Court has jurisdiction to deal with industrial or work safety matters as defined in s291Q of the Act. These include criminal and civil matters arising under of the following Acts:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011;
- Workers Compensation Act 1951;
- Scaffolding and Lifts Act 1912;
- Dangerous Substances Act 2004;
- Machinery Act 1949.
The Court also has jurisdiction to deal with related personal actions, including personal injury claims up to $250,000. Personal actions estimated to be worth more than $250,000 will be dealt with by the ACT Supreme Court.
The Court may transfer work safety matters to the ACT Supreme Court where:
- one party applies to have a matter removed to the Supreme Court, and the Industrial Court considers it appropriate to do so;
- the parties jointly apply to have a matter removed to the Supreme Court; or
- the Court considers that the matter would be more appropriately dealt with in the Supreme Court.
Arrangement of the work of the Court
As at February 2015, the Court sits four times per year for two weeks each time in scheduled workers compensation sittings and on an ad hoc basis in other industrial and work safety matters.
Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are available in relation to workers compensation and civil industrial matters.