New safety legislation on the drawing board

Resources Safety Bill will modernise and harmonise the State’s mine safety regulation
Date: Friday, 15 August 2014

The State Government has approved development of a new Resources Safety Bill to further modernise resources industry regulation 

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has been given the green light to continue modernising safety legislation in Western Australia’s resources industry.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion announced the State Government’s support for the new Resources Safety Bill earlier this week.

DMP’s Resources Safety Division Executive Director Simon Ridge said the new Bill will modernise and harmonise the State’s mine safety regulation with other jurisdictions

“The Bill will initially cover mines safety, replacing the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994,” Mr Ridge said.

The potential for incorporating safety legislation for petroleum and major hazard facilities will be investigated towards the end of the 2014, through a formal Regulatory Impact Statement consultation process.

“The new mines safety legislation will incorporate the best elements of the nationally-developed model Work Health and Safety legislation and the National Mine Safety Framework.” Mr Ridge said

“However, it is also important to recognise that some aspects that work in other jurisdictions may not apply to WA.

“Aspects of the model laws that don’t suit the WA context will be amended or removed altogether.”

In making the State Government’s announcement, Mr Marmion said the new legislation was an important next step in further reducing the risk of harm in Western Australia’s resources industry.

“The intention is to place a greater focus on risk management and to be less prescriptive,” Mr Marmion said.

“The onus will be placed on industry to demonstrate they understand the hazards and have control measures in place.”

Mr Ridge said a Ministerial Advisory Panel on Safety Legislation Reform was established with industry and the unions to ensure appropriate input into the decision-making process.

“The Panel has met four times since it was established in January 2014, making recommendations to the department and the Minister on the development and implementation of the reforms,” he said.

At the same time, the Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation for general industry will be released for comment.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin announced that a Work Health and Safety “Green Bill” (Consultation Bill) would soon be introduced into State Parliament, with a three-month consultation period.

Our Ministerial Advisory Panel will also monitor progress of the Green Bill, to ensure alignment between WHS legislation for resources and other industries,” Mr Ridge said.