New law reforms to improve safety in Queensland’s resources industry

Published Friday, 19 April, 2024 at 02:30 PM

Minister for Resources and Critical Minerals
The Honourable Scott Stewart

  • Proposed amendments to the Resources Safety Acts address recommendations from the Brady Review of mining fatalities, the Coal Mining Board of Inquiry into the Grosvenor coal mine explosion, and feedback from the Queensland Government’s industry-wide safety resets.
  • Extensive consultation has been done through a comprehensive regulatory impact analysis process and on draft legislation with key industry and union stakeholders.

These reforms focus on implementing high reliability organisation behaviours within the industry, modernising regulatory enforcement powers, and providing a more contemporary legislative framework.

The bill was created in consultation with industry, unions and the community.

One of the key amendments is the implementation of critical controls – an important recommendation from the Coal Mining Board of Inquiry.

Critical controls must be incorporated into the safety and health management systems for all coal mines, and mineral mines and quarries which will be overseen by the independent regulator Resources Safety and Health Queensland’s audit and inspection program.

Other changes include the introduction of new certificates of competency for the roles of mechanical engineering manager and electrical engineering manager as well as a new certificate of competency to be introduced for surface mine managers.

The changes will also modernise and streamline the existing operation of directives, enabling them to be more specifically tailored to risks.

The bill also means labour hire workers and agencies will be classed as contractors under the legislation which remove any doubt that health and safety obligations apply to labour hire agencies – another recommendation from the Board of Inquiry.

Quotes attributable to Resources and Critical Minerals Minister Scott Stewart:

“Safety is my number one priority as the Minister and it should be for every mine operator.

“The resources industry is a key driver of the Queensland economy, creating jobs and delivering a range of benefits for the state including royalties, however, the most important thing to come out of any workplace at the end of each shift is its workers,” he said.

“Our resources industry can only thrive when it has safe and healthy workplaces.

“These changes are important to address recommendations concerning a number of serious incidents that should not happen again in the resources industry.

“As a Labor Government we will always strive to make sure workers safety is at the forefront of what we do.

“The LNP did nothing about mine worker safety and health during their disastrous three years in government. 

“And the LNP, alongside One Nation voted against industrial manslaughter laws in 2017 – laws we have now extended to mines and quarries.

“It is only this government that will put workers safety first.”

Further information: 

The changes will implement recommendations 12, 13, 19, 25 (Part I Report) and 6, 23, 25, 29, 32 and 34 (Part II Report) from the Coal Mining Board of Inquiry.

The Bill also implements a recommendation from the Coroners Court of Queensland’s inquest into the death of Gareth Leo Dodunski to amend the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 to include provisions like those in the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 authorising investigators to compel ‘relevant’ people to give information or answer questions as directed by investigators, with appropriate protections to safeguard the person’s rights.