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4 Aug 11
Mining Codes of Practice open for public comment

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As part of the ongoing process of harmonisation of workplace health and safety laws, Safe Work Australia has now released the draft model Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (Mining) (Cth) (Model Regulations), an Issues Paper and the complete set of the proposed Codes of Practice for Mining for public comment.

Please click here for a list of the documents released for public comment, and can be viewed at the following link: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/Legislation/PublicComment/Pages/PublicComment.aspx

In terms of the timetable moving forward:

  • the period for public comment on the Model Regulations and the Issues Paper has already commenced and will close on 9 September 2011
  • the period for public comment on the Model Codes of Practice for mining has also commenced and will close on 7 October 2011, and
  • the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement will be open for public comment from 17 August 2011, with the comment period closing on 9 September 2011.

Once finalised, taking public comments into consideration, the Model Regulations and each of the Codes are intended to come into effect from 1 January 2012.

State Government adoption of the Regulations and Codes

It is not yet known to what extent the Queensland or New South Wales governments will adopt these Regulations, particularly in the coal mining sector.

Based on statements in the Issues Paper, it is anticipated that Queensland will retain ‘consistent but separate WHS laws for the coal mining industry’, with a range of additional (non-core) legislative provisions for mine safety. For the mining sector other than coal, there will also be industry-specific work health and safety legislation made up of an Act and regulations to be broadly based on the model format, but also with additional (non-core) provisions.

New South Wales will be retaining the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act) model as the principal legislation, but will be drafting corresponding laws specifically relating to mining and related non-core provisions such as high risk activities.

It is anticipated that there will be a limited time frame to comment on the State laws, given the delay in the release of the model legislation and the intended start date of 1 January 2012.

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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