WHS Law Congress 2023 Agenda

March – 16 (Melbourne); 21 (Perth); 23 (Canberra); 28 (Sydney and online)


9.00       Opening remarks from the Chair


9.10       Reviewing recent and ongoing changes to WHS law

  • Outlining recent changes and amendments to WHS law and policy
  • Assessing the ongoing effects of major events such as COVID-19 and the Boland review
  • Anticipating important future changes in WHS law and codes of practice

Kirsty Easdale, Senior Associate, MinterEllison (Canberra)

Albert Khouri, Senior Associate, MinterEllison (Sydney)

Caitlin Ible, Senior Associate, Minter Ellison (Melbourne)


9.10       Reviewing recent and ongoing changes to WHS law:
The first 12 months of the WHS Act in WA and what’s next.

  • Outlining recent changes and amendments to WHS law and policy
  • Assessing the ongoing effects of major events such as COVID-19 and the Boland review
  • Anticipating important future changes in WHS law and codes of practice

Rob Humphreys, Special Counsel, MinterEllison (Perth)


9.55       Mitigating the risks of psychological injury in consideration of a new legal landscape

  • Identifying expectations and obligations in psychosocial risk management
  • Considering the impact of ongoing WHS law amendments around psychological safety
  • Identifying the responsibilities of multiple stakeholders throughout your organization
  • Assessing the costs of psychological injuries and claims
  • Developing an effective, evidence-based psychological safety strategy

Catherine Dunlop, Partner, Maddocks (Melbourne)

Dale McQualter, Senior Associate, Maddocks (Canberra and Sydney)

Eloise Nagle, Senior Associate, Kingston Reid (Perth)


10.40     Morning coffee


11.10     Ensuring best-practice hazard management regarding remote workers

  • Meeting expectations in offering flexible working options
  • Accounting for unique hazards in the remote working environment
  • Effectively communicating and monitoring risks in working-from-home arrangements
  • Providing appropriate equipment and resources for hybrid workers

Andrew Douglas, Managing Principal, FCW Lawyers (All cities)


11.55     Improving return-to-work outcomes in the injury management process

  • Meeting all legislative requirements in each RTW process
  • Developing person-centred strategies for each injured employee
  • Supporting injured workers proactively throughout the RTW process
  • Working constructively with nominated treating doctors and specialists
  • Avoiding the costs of a difficult or lengthy RTW process

Ross Levin, Partner, Mills Oakley (Melbourne)

Daniel Hill, Special Counsel, Mills Oakley (Perth)

Rachael Sutton, Partner, Mills Oakley (Canberra)

Laura Sowden, Partner, Mills Oakley (Sydney)


12.40     Lunch


13.40     Addressing bullying and harassment risks in WHS law

  • Detecting incidents of bullying and harassment in your organization
  • Developing strategies to mitigate unreasonable workplace behaviour
  • Understanding obligations for each stakeholder in line with recent legislation
  • Constructing safe and supportive organisational culture over time

Steve Bell, Managing Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills (All cities)


14.25     Case Study:
Implementing legally sound and effective safety systems in practice

  • Navigating current WHS laws as a safety professional
  • Working with other internal departments towards a comprehensive safety strategy
  • Identifying positive outcomes as well as areas for further improvement
  • Developing effective safety frameworks to complement legal requirements

James Koloszi, Safety, Risk, and Emergency Management, Western Health (Melbourne)

Jessica Reynolds, Director, Health, Safety, and Wellbeing, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water (Canberra)

Speaker to be confirmed (Perth and Sydney)


15.10     Afternoon tea


15.40     Meeting all WHS obligations for senior directors

  • Identifying key responsibilities expected of PCBUs and senior leaders
  • Developing safety compliance strategies in line with new legal requirements
  • Ensuring directors are aware of their responsibilities in WHS risk management
  • Evaluating officer liability within major incidents and injuries
  • Involving directors in safe work design and safety training programs

Sam Jackson, Partner, Sparke Helmore (Melbourne)

Ian Bennett, Partner, Sparke Helmore (Perth)

Maxine Feletti, Partner, Sparke Helmore (Canberra)

Carlie Holt, Partner, Sparke Helmore (Sydney)


16.20     Transforming your approach to WHS in contractor management

  • Understanding the vital details of recent law in contractor management
  • Identifying the safety challenges throughout the contractor process
  • Developing contractor management systems alongside your procurement function
  • Minimising liability for WHS incidents during contractor engagement

Speaker to be confirmed


17.00     Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference