The long-awaited Queensland Mine Safety Framework Regulatory
Impact Statement has finally been released for consultation. It
outlines the Queensland Government's proposed options to
improve mining safety and health and develop greater regulatory
consistency with the other States and Territories.
Two options for mine safety in Queensland
While four options were considered only the following two
options have been put out for comment:
retention of Queensland's two mining safety and health Acts
(covering coal and metalliferous mining and quarrying), plus
amendments based on provisions from the National Harmonised Work
Health and Safety Act 2011 (Model Act) and
additional provisions (both those considered core and non-core)
from the National Mine Safety Framework that improve safety and
the development of mine safety legislation based primarily on
the Model Act, plus amendments based on provisions from the Model
Act and additional provisions (both those considered core and
non-core) from the National Mine Safety Framework that improve
safety and consistency.
The options have been developed in response to the National Mine
Safety Framework which was to harmonise New South Wales, Queensland
and Western Australia mining safety laws, and is the culmination of
a review that began before the harmonised legislation came into
The National Mining Safety Framework recommendations included
provisions considered to be core which were to be harmonised across
the three states, and non-core, which may change based on
jurisdiction. The proposal will only pick up those of the
recommendations that the Government consider that improve safety
The release of the regulatory impact statement comes at a time
when Western Australia has announced that it may overhaul its
entire safety legislation rather than adopt the harmonised model.
We are yet to get further confirmation as to whether NSW and
Western Australia will follow Queensland's lead in this
What's proposed to reform Queensland mine safety –
and what isn't
According to the Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and
Mines, Andrew Cripps, some of the specific proposed reforms
(irrespective of which option is adopted) include:
an increase in the number of coal industry safety and health
representatives from three to four;
clarification of the role of industry safety and health
all mines required to have a single safety and health
management system that covers both company employees and
key safety positions at mine sites to become statutory roles
with a Board of Examiners competency certificate required;
improved stone dusting and water barrier requirements for
underground coal operations to further minimise the risk of fire or
standardising the management for fatigue, drugs, alcohol and
fitness for work across both the quarry and coal sectors.
The proposal does not appear to address some of the
long-standing concerns of industry, including:
the power and responsibility of the industry safety and health
representatives and the site safety and health
the complexity and difficulties associated with the coal board
the difficulty of implementing standard operating procedures
(SOPs) where the agreement of the cross-section of
the workforce is required; and
what happens when agreement to SOPs cannot be reached (with
some sites taking years to implement important SOPs as a result of
a disputed process).
Next steps in the consultation process
As we are still in the consultation phase, the proposed
amendments and reforms are for discussion purposes only and will
not have any immediate commercial impact. If they are adopted,
however, they are likely to have significant impacts on mine
operations and management of risk. Now is the time to address some
of the ongoing concerns with the current legislation.
Stakeholders have 60 days to lodge submissions about the issues
outlined in the Queensland Mine Safety Framework Regulatory Impact
Statement – so all comments are due by 5pm Monday, 11
During that 60 day period the Department of Natural Resources
and Mines will be hosting forums across Queensland.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
This briefing note sets out a likely structure for the proposed privatisation of the networks and identifies key issues.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).