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Client Update: Reforms proposed for Western Australia's resources safety legislation

14 November 2014

In brief: Western Australia's Department of Mines and Petroleum has invited submissions into the future of the State's safety legislation covering mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities. Special Counsel Eleanor Jewell and Associate Katie Gardiner report.

How does it affect you?

  • The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum has released a consultation paper proposing major reform to safety legislation covering mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities.
  • The proposed reforms include consolidating six existing Acts and having one regulator in place of two.
  • Submissions from interested parties regarding the proposed reforms are due by 19 December 2014.

Background

The Department of Mines and Petroleum is responsible for regulating and administering safety matters for the resources industry (ie mining and petroleum) and is taking on a similar role for major hazard facilities. The Department has released a consultation paper proposing major reform to the legislation currently governing those matters.

The release of the consultation paper follows the recent release of the draft Work Health and Safety Bill (based on model legislation adopted in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia). However, the two reforms are running separately and are not necessarily related.

The proposed changes to resources safety legislation

The consultation paper identifies five different options for consolidation of the separate safety legislation and invites submissions from stakeholders regarding which option should be preferred.

The options are:

  • one Act and one regulator (the Department);
  • two Acts (one for petroleum and major hazard facilities, one for mine safety) and one regulator (the Department);
  • four Acts (one for mining, one for petroleum, and major hazard facilities remaining split across two separate Acts) and keeping two regulators (the Department and WorkSafe);
  • three Acts (one consolidated Act for mining and petroleum, and major hazard facilities remaining split across two Acts) and keeping two regulators; or
  • preserving the current six Acts and retaining both WorkSafe and the Department as regulators of safety compliance.

The Department has indicated that its preference is to adopt the first option and embrace a comprehensive consolidation of the resources safety regime.

What next?

Submissions to the consultation process are due by 19 December 2014. Allens is considering a submission to the Department and welcomes views from the sector's stakeholders. We are also happy to discuss with clients any issues that arise in relation to the submissions they propose to make.

For further information, please contact:

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