Safe Work Australia, an Australian Government statutory agency has appointed Joanne Farrell as Chair of Safe Work Australia for a three-year term, effective from 1 February 2022.
The statutory agency develops national policy to improve Work Health and Safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. As the new chair, Joanne will play a key role in reviewing and improving current Work Health and Safety Laws and charting a new path for the emerging workplace challenges in the post-pandemic world of work.
Joanne has over 40 years of experience in the mining industry. In her most recent role, she was Managing Director Australia and Group Executive, Health, Safety and Environment at Rio Tinto. Currently, she is a non-executive director at the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Western Operations) and WA Museums, and a member of the Senate of the University of Western Australia.
Speaking on the appointment, ACCI’s Director of Work Health and Safety, Jennifer Low said, “As a Member of Safe Work Australia I’m looking forward to working with Farrell who comes with extensive, practical, national and international health and safety and HR experience in the resources sector."
Jennifer believes that Joanne's skillset will be much needed as SWA continues to provide advice on COVID management in workplaces, works to implement the remaining Boland Review recommendations and tackles ongoing and emerging issues such as occupational disease, psychosocial risk and changing occupational trends.
The new chair, Joanne brings to the role a wealth of experience in industry and WHS, and will focus on ensuring that Safe Work Australia continues to make an important contribution to the safety of Australian workplaces. She replaces Diane Smith-Gander AO, who has been in the role since 2016.
Smith-Gander has been a strong advocate for WHS in Australia’s workplaces. During her tenure, Smith-Gander brought together representatives of the states, territories, employers and employees to guide Safe Work Australia in its important work. She has led several key projects including the guidance on working safely during the pandemic, implementing WHS Ministers’ response to the Review of the Model Work Health and Safety Laws, and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.
Image Credit: Australian Chamber