Increases to Mines Safety Levy and Mining Tenement Rents for 2017-18

Annual mining tenement rent increases do not have an adverse impact on industry
Date: Monday, 26 June 2017

The State Government has agreed to increase the 2017-18 Mines Safety Levy and the Annual Mining Tenement Rents above CPI, following the review of tariffs, fees and charges by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).

The Mines Safety Levy (MSL) will increase to 20 cents per hour, while Annual Mining Tenement Rents will increase by 3.4 per cent in 2017-18.

DMP acting Director General Dr Phil Gorey said the increase in the MSL was necessary to ensure that the mine safety function is adequately funded as provided by the legislation.

Despite a mining industry slowdown and decrease in the mining workforce, the number of mining operations had been gradually increasing.

Dr Gorey said this comes at a time where operators are facing economic pressures on other aspects within the business which inherently causes an increase in safety performance risks and vulnerability to unsatisfactory mitigation strategies.

In 2015-16, four people were killed while working at Western Australian mining operations. A further 319 people suffered a serious lost time injury.

"Mines Safety costs in Western Australia compare very favourably with other jurisdictions and DMP commissioned Deloitte in 2016 to conduct an independent assessment into funding and resourcing of the Mines Safety Branch," Dr Gorey said.

In 2015-16 the total mines safety administration cost per miner in Western Australia was $320, compared to $822 in Queensland and $374 in New South Wales.

Although the number of mining operations being regulated increased DMP had not increased its cost of operations since last year.

"The decision made by the State Government to increase the levy rate enables DMP to effectively reduce the deficit balance by $1.5 million in 2017-18 and ensure the continuation of an adequately resourced and competent safety regulator for the mining industry," Dr Gorey said.

“The Mines Safety Levy is a charge to industry to fund the full cost of the provision of safety and health regulatory services for the mining industry within Western Australia and its purpose is to recover 100 per cent of the associated cost of the regulatory service.”

He said providing safe systems of work and applying appropriate risk management is given the highest priority on mining operations.

“The department is committed to working with industry to help reduce serious incidents and provide tangible support in achieving positive cultural change,” Dr Gorey said.

“The fact that four people were killed in 2015-16 is a reminder that people are still being killed or maimed while working in Western Australia’s mining industry. While safety is improving compared to a decade ago, we cannot and should not accept the current number of injuries and fatalities.”

Increases in the broad based annual mining tenement rents are preferred by industry in comparison to introducing or increasing other smaller fees and charges.

A number of small existing Mineral Title fees with highly inefficient administration costs are under examination for potential abolishment in the future.