Deputy Premier of NSW reports on review of WHS laws

November 17, 2020 Mining Editor

The report on the statutory review of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 and Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014 (WHS (MPS) laws) was tabled in parliament by the Deputy Premier of New South Wales on 10 November 2020. The review found the objectives of the Act are valid and its terms generally appropriate for securing those objectives. The review also made 40 recommendations for improvements to the operation of the laws.

Benchmarking WHS culture & performance

Hazardous chemicals at mines and petroleum sites in NSW

In early 2021, the NSW Resources Regulator will consult industry stakeholders about 15 of the recommendations, which proposed legislative amendments. The balance of the recommendations will be implemented by the Resources Regulator, Mine Safety Advisory Council and Mining and Petroleum Competence.

The Resources Regulator engaged an independent person, Kym Bills, to lead the review. Bills has experience in high-hazard industries such as offshore petroleum and transport safety, and has participated in reviews of safety legislation in those industries. Bills was the project manager for National Mine Safety Framework, providing advice to the Steering Group on implementation. He is also Chair of the Board of Fellows for the Australian Institute of Health and Safety.

The public consultation period for the Review of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Laws ran from 1 March 2020 until 1 May 2020. The lead reviewer, with the Resources Regulator, conducted nine public forums with six face-to-face sessions across the state and three online forums. All submissions were examined, the issues raised in them considered.

The report made 40 recommendations for the WHS (MPS) laws; of those recommendations, the Resources Regulator will implement 25, which include reviewing legislation and, in collaboration with other jurisdictions, will review existing guidance material and develop new guidance material.

Further consultation with industry stakeholders is required for the other 15 recommendations, as they are complex and may require legislative reforms. Subject to the outcomes of the consultation, the Resources Regulator will progress amendments of the WHS (MPS) laws.

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