Legislative Council: Thursday, July 07, 2022


SafeWork SA

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:23): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney-General a question about SafeWork SA.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: In May, the Attorney announced that an independent review would have been undertaken into SafeWork SA's decision not to prosecute the employer of murdered nurse Gayle Woodforde, who we know was murdered while working in the remote community of Fregon where she lived and worked as a nurse.

Her murderer, Dudley Davey, was sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment in June 2017. Following the conclusion of a coronial inquest in 2021, SafeWork SA reopened its investigation into whether her employer should be prosecuted for contraventions of the Work Health and Safety Act relating to Gayle's death.

In April 2022, after a 12-month investigation, we know that the announcement was made that there would be no prosecution in that case. That decision raised a number of concerns by a number of parties, which ultimately resulted in the Attorney announcing that an independent review by a former federal judge, the Hon. John Mansfield AM QC, was due to be completed by 15 July next week, I think, next Friday, after which it will be made publicly available.

My questions to the Attorney are: is the review on time and expected to be completed by Friday the 15th, or is any extension being envisaged? Will you make the report public before parliament resumes after the winter break in September? More broadly, how is the broader review into SafeWork SA progressing, and when can we expect a report into that inquiry?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:25): I thank the honourable member for her question. It's an important question and certainly one that she has taken a keen interest in, and I thank her for that. I had the opportunity to briefly meet with John Mansfield AM QC, I think two to three weeks ago—I can't remember exactly when. It was a brief meeting, but in the brief discussion he relayed that the review was coming along in the time frame as expected. I haven't heard anything since then.

If it is not the case I will check, but I am quite sure that it is anticipated to be completed in the time frame that was outlined, by 15 July. Certainly, two to three weeks ago, John Mansfield AM QC had conducted almost all the interviews and had read the documents that were needed from SafeWork SA to then go away and draw conclusions and put together a review.

Yes, I have committed to making that review public, and I would anticipate it would absolutely be made public during the winter break before we resume in this chamber in September. We are considering who might undertake the larger review of the practices and procedures of SafeWork SA. Certainly, I have made it clear that the Mansfield review into the Woodford case specifically will inform and be considered as part of the broader review.